A Wild Ride From Start To Finish, With a Good Storyline
Women in the filmmaking world are not a new concept. They are more prevalent nowadays with directors such as Sofia Coppola, Greta Gerwig, and Chloè Zhao. 2020 was a big year for women telling stories on the big screen with movies such as Nomadland, Wonder Woman 1984, and Birds of Prey. One movie from 2020 that was directed by a woman that really stood out to me and stuck with me was Promising Young Woman.
Promising Young Woman was directed, written, and produced by Emerald Fennell. Promising Young Woman or PYW was Fennell's directorial debut of a feature-length film. The film has an ensemble cast featuring Carey Mulligan, Bo Burnham, Jennifer Coolidge, and Laverne Cox. PYW would end up winning the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay in 2021. It was also nominated for four other Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actress.
Promising Young Woman follows Cassandra "Cassie" Thomas (Carey Mulligan), a medical school dropout with an interesting nighttime hobby. Cassie goes to clubs, pretends to get drunk, and gets picked up by men and when those men try to take advantage of her, she drops the act. Unlike the trailer leads you to believe, that is not the whole plot of the movie. There was an incident that led Cassie to drop out of medical school which is slowly revealed throughout the film. Cassie concocts a plan of revenge against those involved in the incident. As the film goes on, we see her go to elaborate lengths to fulfill her plan. Does she fail in the end or will she succeed? That I am not going to tell you as I believe that this is one that you should watch for yourself as it is a wild ride.
PYW covers the heavy topic of sexual assault and its lasting effect. This movie came out about three years after the start of the #MeToo movement, which began in 2017. Another film to come out of the #MeToo movement was 2019's Bombshell, a drama film that tells the true story of the women of Fox News who expose the then-CEO of Fox News, Roger Ailes of sexual harassment. While both films are great in their own ways, there is a major difference between the two. Both stories have women as the focus and cover the topics of sexual harassment and sexual assault. The difference is that Promising Young Woman is told by a female director/writer/producer and features other female producers, including Bombshell star, Margot Robbie, while Bombshell was written and directed by men and only had one female producer.
The film is a story for women and being created by a woman is showing some progress in women being able to tell their own stories authentically. The success of Promising Young Woman could mean that we have more stories by women, for women coming our way in the future. Hopefully, that will be the case as women deserve to have authentic, accurate stories and portrayals in film.