Promising Young Woman

Promising Young Woman ★½

Surprise film @ Glasgow Film Festival 2020

[rape cw]

Promising Young Woman is a rape-and-revenge film with a feminist twist, but only if one believes in the 'eyeliner so sharp it could kill a man' brand of feminism. There is much to be said about the politics of watching 'traditional' rape-and-revenge films as a woman (and I'm not Carol Clover), but they always have an undeniable, vicious appeal when the rapists finally get their deserved comeuppance in the form of grotesque mutilation. Promising Young Woman supposedly wants to bend this formula by tapping into the social taboo of a woman being the predator instead of the prey, but it has absolutely no bite. The only depiction of violence in the film is, of course, a horrifyingly extended scene of misogynistic violence against a woman, which was abhorrently out of place with the cutesy pastel Gone Girl-lite vibe the film previously had. Forget biting, this film doesn't even have any teeth- the word rape is always tip-toed around and never actually used once, even in scenes where it definitely needed to stand in the room. Call me old fashioned, but I prefer the rape-and-revenge films in which the rapists at least get some limbs chopped off.

Amelie liked this review