Movieman630’s review published on Letterboxd:
Fucking Hell, this one's gonna stick with me for a while.
Promising Young Woman is a righteously angry, focused and important film, one that uses the framework of a revenge story to shine a light on a trauma that is all to common, and all to often ignored.
The title refers to the phrase "promising young man," which is how much of the media chose to describe rapist Brock Turner. The twist of the title is very intentional, as it really gets to the heart of the film. The film is very focused on empathy for those who have been assaulted, who have been ignored, who have been disrespected.
The film's central revenge plotline is brilliant and fascinating in how it resists giving easy answers. The characters are all fully fleshed out, all impacted by these horrible actions in varying ways and degrees. Emerald Fennell, giving one of the most brave and singular directorial debuts in memory, knows who to empathize with, but resists oversimplifying the narrative. Above all, she finds the truth in the situation.
This is not a film for everybody. This is a film that makes stark, powerful decisions, is filled with unlikable characters, and doesn't hold the audience's hand through it's intense and challenging material. However, all of these risks pay off to create a film that has a lasting and important impact, and just may remind somebody to care about the people who have been permanently mentally scarred by "boys being boys."