I miss going to the movies, so last weekend me and two of my best gals decided to make an occasion of watching a newly released flick. We ordered takeout from Veggie Galaxy in Cambridge, MA and with milkshakes in hand we pressed play on Promising Young Woman.
The movie is written and directed by Emerald Fennell, who you may recognize as Camilla Parker Bowles in season four of The Crown on Netflix.
Carey Mulligan stars as Cassie, a woman who dropped out of medical school after her best friend, Nina, was raped at a party. Determined to avenge what happened to Nina, Cassie spends her free evenings in bars, pretending to be drunk, letting guys take her home, then snapping "awake" and calling them on their intentions.
In a brilliant casting decision, many of the men who engage in this shameful behavior are actors you know and love from roles where they traditionally played sweet guys. Adam Brody (Seth Cohen from The OC), Max Greenfield (Schmidt from New Girl), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (McLovin from Superbad) and Chris Lowell (Piz from Veronica Mars).
On Twitter, writer Alanna Bennett commented, "I’ve never seen a film weaponize its casting in quite the way Promising Young Woman does with the beloved men of TV shows past, but I am frankly obsessed with it." I couldn't have said it better myself!
Eventually, Cassie does fall for a "good guy," played by Bo Burnham. His name is Ryan, he's a pediatric surgeon and he was actually in her class at medical school. They meet again when Ryan enters the coffee shop where Cassie works.
Over time, the two become close and there is an adorable scene where they are dancing and singing to the music playing in the pharmacy while they run errands. That might be me favorite scene in the whole movie.
Things take a turn when it's revealed that Ryan knows, and is still friends with, Nina's attacker, Al. Cassie becomes obsessed with finding him.
I don't want to say any more about the plot, because you should watch the movie and experience the ending for yourself. It was very controversial when it first premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. You can read all about the decision to close the movie that way in this feature in Variety.
I will say that the supporting cast in this film is incredible and includes Laverne Cox, Alison Brie, Jennifer Coolidge, Connie Britton and Molly Shannon.
This is the kind of movie that keeps you on your toes and leaves you with even more questions. I couldn't stop thinking about it for several days after we first watched.
If you'd also like to watch at home, it's available on demand or on Amazon Prime for $19.99. Since we were sharing the cost between the three of us, it was less than $7 dollars per person, which is actually way cheaper than going to see an evening movie in the theater!