And A promising young woman It was just a revenge movie, an eye for an eye dedicated to the herds having fun raping a woman, it would not be the admirable film that it is. Because the debut of the British Emerald Fennell, writer and director of this uncomfortable and audacious portrait of a lonely and destroyed woman who plays drunk to be the bait of gallant profiteers, is more than everything she claims to be. As if he touched all the sticks (black comedy, romantic comedy, thriller revenge, drama) not for the whim of doing so, but to build itself through scraps, all sewn with the mixture of rage and impotence that runs through this fatal joke whose dark background is exposed in its final stretch.
Fennell, known for playing Camilla Parker Bowles on the series The Crown And here it appears in the cameo of an internet tutorial on how to paint your mouth for fellatio, progresses through the multiple layers of a film whose tone is equally fed by the bubblegum pink clichés of romantic comedies, of the fury of the Avenging Girls from Tarantino or the moral fable of an absolute classic like The hunter’s night, evoked here on a television and also through the music of one of its most portentous sequences: that of children adrift in the river.
All the weight of A promising young woman falls on the interpreter Carey Mulligan, a candidate for one of the five Oscars (actress, film, direction, original script, editing) to which this film aspires. Mulligan plays with enormous talent the madness and the physical and emotional strangeness of a character stuck in a false innocence and a trauma from the past. A character who swims between extremes. There is something about her of a saint willing to immolate herself to Breaking the waves but also the avenging and anti-establishment clown of Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker, whose sinister mask (the only thing worthwhile in that overrated film) is comparable to the mascara and smeared lipstick of this woman willing to lose everything to do justice. Because A promising young woman it is first of all the story of a broken friendship. A tribute to those friends who at some point in their life have been everything and, incidentally, to all the women who have suffered not only rape, but the questioning of their word for their way of dressing or living. This systemic suspicion that this film, like the wave of women who shouted that “I do believe you” dedicated to the victim of La Manada, complaint in the form of a sisterhood.