By: Sylvia Davidow
Promising Young Woman touches on the subject of sexual assault and asks: who can you actually trust?
Seven years after dropping out of medical school, Carrie remains scarred by a past traumatic event involving her college best friend, Nina. How does she cope with her trauma? By sneaking out of her parents house to go to clubs where she pretends to act drunk. Keyword, pretends.
Usually a “nice man” will check in on her, ask her if she is ok and offer to bring her home. Except, every single damn time, she ends up at the man’s place and once she begins to feel uncomfortable with his intentions, she snaps back into her sober self and teaches these men a lesson about consent.
After she returns home, she opens her childish diary where she appears to have a list of all the men she has encountered at the clubs who refused to ask for consent. She writes their name’s down one by one after each meeting and puts a tick mark down as a symbol of disappointment—there are far too many markings.
Later, at her day job, she runs into an old friend from college. He is the classic cute pediatric surgeon who seems like a person you can trust right off the bat. When he wants to establish a relationship with Cassie, she is quite reluctant to accept his proposition as she struggles with trust. But the cute pediatric surgeon uses his charm and humor to woo Cassie over by showing her that not every dude is a dick.
She finds herself going on a couple dates with this guy and when he finally invites her up to his apartment, she completely looses it. So the two of them take a break until Cassie realizes that the man may actually be a nice guy with good intentions after all. So she finally starts a real relationship with the surgeon and even convinces herself that she is falling in love with him.
That is until secrets about her past are brought back to the surface and she realizes that everyone she had established relationships with back in college weren’t who they said they were at all…
Promising Young Woman covers all of the aspects of the traumatic event involving Cassie’s friend Nina and leaves the audience full of rage.
I confess that I personally regarded Cassie with a sense of pride, feeling as though bits of her were universal staples in the minds of most women.
And the film itself shows not one single innocent man (besides Cassie’s father perhaps) whose motives appear to please society itself. It leaves the audience with something to think about—the ways in which ideas of trust and superiority are often gendered.
It’s heartbreaking that most women have that fear of going out and having fun, when it can lead to the most disturbing things imaginable— most commonly perpetrated by men.
It’s heartbreaking that I have to check under my car because I think the monster under my vehicle will slash my ankles. I have to carry some sort of weapon with me (usually I just clutch my car keys) because I fear I may need to stab someone for my safety in the future. I can’t walk in a busy part of town by myself because its like the real life version of survival Minecraft and I don’t want to get killed.
This Oscar’s best picture nominee is a feminist revenge fantasy that is designed to make viewers uncomfortable.
If you are a woman, you will be outraged after watching this film. If you are a man, you better be outraged by the end of this film.
For all its depiction of trauma, the reasons why this film got the best picture nominee are buried in the ending.
Let’s just say, justice is served 😉