Promising Young Woman movie review - Aussieboyreviews


Centring on themes such as sexual assault, revenge, forgiveness and rape culture, Promising Young Woman is both mature and hilarious. This dark comedy is a superbly-made revenge movie.


A young woman who is traumatised by a tragic event in her past, in which her best friend dropped out of college and ended up committing suicide after being sexually assaulted by a classmate, seeks out vengeance and confronts those of her past who were complicit in the incident.

Movie Images

Movie details

Director: Emerald Fennell
Cast: Carey Mulligan, Bo Burnham, Alison Brie, Clancy Brown, Jennifer Coolidge, Laverne Cox
Writer: Emerald Fennell
Release Date (Australia): 1 January 2021
Runtime: 113 minutes/1h 53m
Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Country: USA
Language: English


Themes (M)

The film contains mature themes of sexual assault, revenge, sexual themes and features multiple sustained scenes in which a woman confronts predatory men who she meets in bars whilst pretending to be intoxicated.

Violence (MA15+)

During a lengthy scene, a character is smothered by a pillow and killed.

Coarse Language (MA15+)

The film contains two uses of the word “c**t”, in addition to use of the words “f**k”, “s**t”, “bitch” and “**shole”.

Drug Use (M)

A character is depicted snorting cocaine and forcing another character to use the drug orally.

Sex (M)

The film contains sexual themes, as well as crude references to sexual acts and use of the word “f**k” in a sexual context.

mpaa rating

R (for strong violence including sexual assault, language throughout, some sexual material and drug use)

Aussie boy's thoughts

Emerald Fennell’s sexual assault/vengeance comedy with a badass female lead played by Carey Mulligan is wickedly cunning, sadistically hilarious and shockingly unpredictable. Promising Young Woman may be a very glossy looking comedy with bits of romance, entertaining conversations, solid jokes and an incredibly original concept, but whilst there’s a slightly light-hearted side to it, it also comes across as one of the most necessary films of the year.

Promising Young Woman centres on a young woman who implicitly had a very promising future until her best friend was raped, dropped out of college and ended up tragically committing suicide. Now the main character takes it upon herself to seek justice for her friend, confront people who were involved and even stand up to men who pick her up from bars when she pretends to be intoxicated. This movie isn’t a movie that goes anywhere overboard or tries overly hard to execute its themes and points. It isn’t a movie that’s ruined by bucketloads of feminist activism or the explicitly specific line: “don’t take advantage of drunk people you encounter in bars”, although Fennell scatters some extremely powerful lines throughout, including: “I guess it feels different when it’s someone you love”.

You can also point out that Mulligan is the most suitable actress for the role, whether she’s being extremely funny, pretending to be drunk, or even having really emotional moments. The story is wickedly entertaining, the jokes are morbidly riotous and the themes are powerful enough to have an impact on you, but the supporting roles of the entire rest of the cast are also extremely memorable. The only problem with Promising Young Woman are the remaining 15 minutes after the film’s shocking climax, which might really work for some, but others may have a hard time understanding it. But this movie is definitely worth a watch, for mature audiences and up.

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