Promising Young Woman is a twist on the rape-revenge genre that was a mainstay of exploitation cinema. Cassie (Carey Mulligan) goes to clubs and pick-up spots, acts inebriated, and just waits for a guy to swoop in and take her home, maintaining the act until the big reveal.
It’s an immensely assured debut: a pastel-coloured shocker that blends tension, social commentary and dark humour with disarming confidence. “The main surprise about making this film is that there’s nothing in this movie at all – a single thing – that hadn’t been a joke in a movie or TV show in the last 15 years,” says writer/director Emerald Fennell. “Everything that we find shocking in the film – it’s stuff that is in every raunchy comedy movie, or in even family sitcoms.”
The idea is a film like this could shine a spotlight on a subject that too often goes unacknowledged. “I hope that making it an enjoyable movie – at least to some people – will enable that conversation to be easier for people to have,” says a self-deprecating Fennell. “It’s a dark comedy and it’s also a sort of horror movie, and I think with those two genres, you do really benefit from watching it with other people...”
Above, you can check out an exclusive image of Promising Young Woman that features in the new issue of our sister publication, Total Film magazine.
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Promising Young Woman is scheduled for release on February 12 in the UK. For more on the film – and a massive preview of all the biggest movies heading your way in 2021 – pick up a copy of the new issue of Total Film magazine when it hits shelves (real and digital) this Friday, January 8.
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