Promising Young Woman

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Promising Young Woman
Promising Young Woman poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byEmerald Fennell
Produced by
  • Margot Robbie
  • Josey McNamara
  • Tom Ackerley
  • Ben Browning
  • Ashley Fox
  • Emerald Fennell
Written byEmerald Fennell
Starring
Music byAnthony Willis
CinematographyBenjamin Kračun
Edited byFrédéric Thoraval
Production
companies
Distributed byFocus Features
Release date
  • January 25, 2020 (2020-01-25) (Sundance)
  • December 25, 2020 (2020-12-25) (United States)
Running time
113 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Box office$4.8 million[1][2]

Promising Young Woman is a 2020 American black comedy thriller film written, produced, and directed by Emerald Fennell, in her feature directorial debut. Margot Robbie serves as a producer through her LuckyChap Entertainment banner. The film stars Carey Mulligan, Bo Burnham, Alison Brie, Clancy Brown, Jennifer Coolidge, Laverne Cox, and Connie Britton. It tells the story of a woman who seeks to avenge her best friend who was a victim of rape.

Promising Young Woman had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 25, 2020, and was theatrically released in the United States on December 25, 2020, by Focus Features. The film received positive reviews from critics, with praise for Mulligan's performance and Fennell's direction and screenplay.

Plot[edit]

Cassie Thomas is a 30 year old woman who lives with her parents. Cassie once had a more promising life: she was in medical school pursuing her life long dream of becoming a doctor. However, after her friend Nina Fisher was raped by one of their classmates while others watched and the school did nothing to help and the legal system failed her, Cassie dropped out to take care of her. It is alluded that Nina eventually died by suicide. Nina's rape and death severely traumatized Cassie. Now, she has a job at a coffee shop. By night, she goes to clubs and pretends to be drunk in an effort to get "nice guys" to take her home. She waits for them to attempt to take advantage of her intoxication and turns the tables on them, hurting or sometimes just scaring them into changing the error of their ways.

One day, Cassie encounters a classmate from medical school, Ryan Cooper, at the coffee shop. The two show chemistry with each other and make plans to get lunch together, during which Ryan catches Cassie up on what's new with their old classmates. One of them, Madison, is now married with children. However, Cassie is shocked to hear that a man named Al Monroe is getting married, as Al was the one that raped Nina years prior. Cassie begins a plan to exact revenge on those she holds responsible for Nina's death. She invites Madison to lunch and intentionally gets her drunk, then has a man she hired take Madison to a hotel to watch her. After the incident Cassie ignores all of her calls.

Next, Cassie targets Dean Elizabeth Walker, the dean of her alma mater. She pretends to be a stylist for a musical group that Walker's daughter Amber is a fan of, and coerces Amber into getting in her car and giving Cassie her phone. Later, Cassie has a meeting with Walker in her office and questions her about the events that led to Nina's dropout and subsequent suicide. Walker chalked it up to a "he said, she said" situation when it was first brought to her attention years prior, but Cassie tells her that her daughter is now in the same room where Nina was raped, scaring Walker. In reality, the clueless Amber is at a restaurant, but Walker remains deeply shaken by Cassie's actions. Meanwhile, Cassie enters a relationship with Ryan and begins to distance herself from her revenge plot. She visits the home of a lawyer involved in Nina's case who tried to silence her years prior, but Cassie is shocked to watch him beg for forgiveness and realize how much he hates himself for what he did and forgives him. After talking to Nina's mother, she gives up on her vengeance.

One day, Cassie encounters Madison waiting outside of her parents' home. Cassie apologizes for everything she put Madison through and reveals what actually happened, which Madison is relieved to hear. Madison gives Cassie a phone containing a video from the night of Nina's rape. As Cassie watches the video, she is shocked to see Ryan among the bystanders. Cassie confronts Ryan and threatens to release the video if he doesn't tell her where Al Monroe's bachelor party is being held. Ryan gives in to her demands.

On the evening of Al's bachelor party, Cassie dresses up as a nurse and pretends to be a stripper, successfully intoxicating Al's friends and taking Al himself upstairs. She handcuffs him to the bed, and reveals her violent plans for him, but before she can do anything, he breaks free and suffocates her to death.

The next morning, Al's friend Joe finds him and, upon realizing what has happened, helps Al cover up the murder by burning Cassie's body. Cassie's parents file a missing persons report, and the police begin to investigate.

On the day of Al's wedding, Ryan receives a scheduled text from Cassie. It's revealed that Cassie had taken measures in the event of her potential disappearance, and soon, police arrive. They arrest Al while Joe runs off and Ryan receives a final scheduled text from Cassie, signed with her and Nina's names.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Emerald Fennell devised the concept of the film in 2017, and sold the script to Margot Robbie's production company LuckyChap Entertainment after pitching the opening scene.[3] In January 2019, it was announced Carey Mulligan had joined the cast of the film, with Fennell directing.[4] In March 2019, Bo Burnham, Alison Brie, Connie Britton, Adam Brody, Jennifer Coolidge, Laverne Cox, Max Greenfield, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Sam Richardson, and Molly Shannon joined the cast, [5] with Angela Zhou and Clancy Brown joining in April.[6][7] Principal photography began in Los Angeles on March 26, 2019,[8] lasting 23 days.[9]

Release[edit]

In February 2019, Focus Features acquired distribution rights to the film.[10] It had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 25, 2020.[11] It was initially scheduled to be released theatrically on April 17, 2020,[12] but was pulled from the schedule due to the closures of movie theaters that occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic.[13] It was eventually released on December 25, 2020,[14] and was released on video on demand on January 15, 2021.[15][16]

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

As of January 19, 2021, Promising Young Woman has grossed $3.5 million in the United States and Canada, and $1.3 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $4.8 million.[1][2]

In the United States and Canada, the film was released alongside Wonder Woman 1984, News of the World, and Pinocchio, was projected to gross around $2 million in its opening weekend.[17] It went on to debut just $680,000, finishing fifth at the box office. Some 63% of the audience were female, and 74% were aged over 25.[18] The film dropped just 4% in its second weekend to $660,000, then made $560,000 in its third weekend.[19][20]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, Promising Young Woman holds an approval rating of 91% based on 277 reviews, and an average rating of 8/10. The site's critics consensus reads: "A boldly provocative, timely thriller, Promising Young Woman is an auspicious feature debut for writer-director Emerald Fennell -- and a career highlight for Carey Mulligan."[21] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 72 out of 100, based on 38 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[22] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale, while PostTrak reported 73% of those gave the film a positive score, with 43% saying they would definitely recommend it.[18]

Kate Erbland of IndieWire gave the film a "B+" and wrote "Emerald Fennell's raucous debut, Promising Young Woman, twists its buzzword-laden, spoiler-free synopsis — it's a #MeToo rape revenge thriller with bite! — into something fresh and totally wild."[23] Writing for the Los Angeles Times, Justin Chang said "The grimly multitasking finale of Promising Young Woman feels both audacious and uncertain of itself, as Fennell tries to meld a cackle of delight and a blast of fury, with a lingering residue of anguish. It doesn't all come together, though there's an undeniable thrill in seeing it come apart."[24]

Accolades[edit]

Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
Chicago Film Critics Association December 21, 2020 Best Picture Promising Young Woman Nominated [25]
Best Director Emerald Fennell Nominated
Best Original Screenplay Emerald Fennell Nominated
Best Actress Carey Mulligan Nominated
Milos Stehlik Award for Promising Filmmaker Emerald Fennell Won
Florida Film Critics Circle December 21, 2020 Best Actress Carey Mulligan Runner-up [26]
Best Original Screenplay Emerald Fennell Nominated
Best First Film Emerald Fennell Won
Greater Western New York Film Critics Association December 31, 2020 Best Actress Carey Mulligan Nominated [27]
Best Original Screenplay Emerald Fennell Nominated
Breakthrough Director Emerald Fennell Nominated
Houston Film Critics Society January 18, 2021 Best Picture Promising Young Woman Nominated
Best Director Emerald Fennell Nominated
Best Actress Carey Mulligan Won
Best Screenplay Emerald Fennell Won
London Film Critics' Circle February 7, 2021 Film of the Year Promising Young Woman Pending [28]
Actress of the Year Carey Mulligan Pending
British/Irish Actress of the Year Carey Mulligan Pending
Breakthrough British/Irish Filmmaker of the Year Emerald Fennell Pending
Los Angeles Film Critics Association December 20, 2020 Best Actress Carey Mulligan Won [29]
Best Screenplay Emerald Fennell Won
Music City Film Critics Association January 11, 2021 Best Film Promising Young Woman Won
Best Director Emerald Fennell Nominated
Best Actress Carey Mulligan Won
Best Screenplay Emerald Fennell Nominated
North Carolina Film Critics Association January 4, 2021 Best Narative Film Promising Young Woman Nominated
Best Director Emerald Fennell Nominated
Best Actress Carey Mulligan Nominated
Best Original Screenplay Emerald Fennell Nominated
North Dakota Film Critics Society January 15, 2021 Best Picture Promising Young Woman Nominated
Best Director Emerald Fennell Nominated
Best Actress Carey Mulligan Runner-up
Best Supporting Actor Bo Burnham Nominated
Best Screenplay Emerald Fennell Won
Best Editing Frédéric Thoraval Nominated
Online Film Critics Society January 25, 2021 Best Picture Promising Young Woman Pending
Best Director Emerald Fennell Pending
Best Actress Carey Mulligan Pending
Best Original Screenplay Emerald Fennell Pending
San Diego Film Critics Society January 11, 2021 Best Film Promising Young Woman Won
Best Actress Carey Mulligan Won
Best Original Screenplay Emerald Fennell Runner-up
San Francisco Bay Area Film Critics Circle January 18, 2021 Best Picture Promising Young Woman Nominated
Best Director Emerald Fennell Nominated
Best Original Screenplay Emerald Fennell Nominated
Best Actress Carey Mulligan Runner-up
St. Louis Film Critics Association January 17, 2021 Best Picture Promising Young Woman Runner-up
Best Director Emerald Fennell Runner-up
Best Actress Carey Mulligan Won
Best Supporting Actor Bo Burnham Nominated
Best Original Screenplay Emerald Fennell Won
Best Cinematography Benjamin Kracun Nominated
Best Production Design Michael Perry Nominated
Best Soundtrack Promising Young Woman Won

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Promising Young Woman (2020)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved January 20, 2021.
  2. ^ a b "Promising Young Woman (2020)". The Numbers. Retrieved January 20, 2021.
  3. ^ Matt Donnelly; Kate Aurthur (December 9, 2020). "'Promising Young Woman': How Carey Mulligan and Emerald Fennell Made the Most Audacious, Feminist Movie of the Year". Variety. Retrieved December 15, 2020.
  4. ^ Wiseman, Andreas (January 31, 2019). "Carey Mulligan To Star In FilmNation, LuckyChap Thriller 'Promising Young Woman' — EFM". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 5, 2019.
  5. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (March 29, 2019). "Bo Burnham to Star Opposite Carey Mulligan in 'Promising Young Woman'; Alison Brie, Connie Britton, Adam Brody & More Round Cast". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 29, 2019.
  6. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (April 2, 2019). "'Hell on Wheels' Star Angela Zhou Joins 'Promising Young Woman'; Ron Funches Cast in 'Sylvie'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 2, 2019.
  7. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (April 8, 2019). "Clancy Brown Boards 'Promising Young Woman' at Focus Features". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 8, 2019.
  8. ^ Fennell, Emerald [@emeraldfennell] (March 26, 2019). "Day 1 of "Promising Young Woman"!!!" (Tweet). Retrieved April 21, 2019 – via Twitter.
  9. ^ Joy, Neha (December 14, 2020). "Carey Mulligan on Taking on Toxic Men and Performing Paris Hilton's Song in 'Promising Young Woman'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 15, 2020.
  10. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (February 13, 2019). "Focus Boards Carey Mulligan Thriller 'Promising Young Woman'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 5, 2019.
  11. ^ Siegel, Tatiana (December 4, 2019). "Sundance Unveils Female-Powered Lineup Featuring Taylor Swift, Gloria Steinem, Abortion Road Trip Drama". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 4, 2019.
  12. ^ "Focus Features to Release PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN on April 17". Broadway World. November 22, 2019. Retrieved December 3, 2019.
  13. ^ "Promising Young Woman". Focus Features. Retrieved April 13, 2020.
  14. ^ Rubin, Rebecca (October 9, 2020). "'Promising Young Woman' Will be Released in Theaters in Time for Christmas". Variety. Retrieved October 9, 2020.
  15. ^ Nolfi, Joey (January 6, 2021). "Promising Young Woman will be available to rent starting next week". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 7, 2021.
  16. ^ SLEDGE, PHILIP (January 11, 2021). "How To Watch Promising Young Woman Streaming". CINEMABLEND. Retrieved January 13, 2021.
  17. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (December 22, 2020). "'Wonder Woman 1984' Will Try To Use Whatever Remaining Superpowers Over Christmas For Starving U.S. Exhibitors – Box Office Preview". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 22, 2020.
  18. ^ a b D'Alessandro, Anthony (December 27, 2020). "'Wonder Woman 1984' Hits $16.7M At Domestic B.O. In Face Of HBO Max Release; Record For Pandemic, But -84% Lower Than First Pic's Opening". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 27, 2020.
  19. ^ Fuster, Jeremy (January 3, 2021). "'Wonder Woman 1984' Reaches $118 Million Worldwide, But Pandemic Forces 67% Domestic Drop". TheWrap. Retrieved January 3, 2021.
  20. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (January 10, 2021). "'Wonder Woman 1984' Continues To Fall With $3M In Third Weekend Amid Pandemic & U.S. Capitol Woes". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 10, 2021.
  21. ^ "Promising Young Woman (2020)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved January 19, 2021.
  22. ^ "Promising Young Woman Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved January 14, 2021.
  23. ^ Erbland, Kate (January 26, 2020). "'Promising Young Woman' Review: Carey Mulligan Has the Time of Her Life in Fiery #MeToo Revenge Thriller". IndieWire. Retrieved December 15, 2020.
  24. ^ Chang, Justin (December 23, 2020). "Review: Carey Mulligan holds the wild revenge-thriller provocations of 'Promising Young Woman' together". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 25, 2020.
  25. ^ Adams, Ryan (December 18, 2020). "Chloe Zhao's Nomadland Leads Chicago Film Critics Association 2020 Nominations". Awards Daily. Retrieved December 18, 2020.
  26. ^ Neglia, Matt (December 21, 2020). "The 2020 Florida Film Critics Circle (FFCC) Winners". NextBestPicture. Retrieved December 21, 2020.
  27. ^ "The 2020 Greater Western New York Film Critics Association (GWNYFCA) Nominations". Retrieved December 21, 2020.
  28. ^ https://deadline.com/2021/01/female-filmmakers-lead-nominees-for-london-critics-circle-film-awards-1234671795/. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  29. ^ Davis, Clayton (December 20, 2020). "Los Angeles Film Critics Announce 2020 Winners (Updating Live)". Variety. Retrieved December 20, 2020.

External links[edit]