A feel-good dramedy with a twist on the coming of age story, ‘CODA’ is familiar but effective
sundance film festival
You don’t have to experience loss in real life to fully appreciate the beauty that is Land, Robin Wright’s directorial debut.
It’s hauntingly real, and that’s a problem.
The myth about nice guys is wrong: it’s the “loose girls like that” who inevitably finish last. Promising Young Woman slips so effortlessly from dark comedy into horror that its unsettling effect is ever more striking by how sugarcoated with charm lead Cassie (Carey Mulligan) is. That’s Cassie’s superpower, to disrupt our expectations – and prove that “nice guys” really don’t exist.
Writer-director Emerald Fennell, who also produced the film with Margot Robbie’s LuckyChap Entertainment, marks her impressive directorial debut with Promising. The film captivated critics at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival before its Christmas Day release. Costarring Bo Burnham, Alison Brie, and Laverne Cox – plus a slew of famously nice guy actors like Adam Brody, Max Greenfield, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse – Promising proves we really can’t judge someone by their so-called sloppy (and presumed slutty) exterior.
Thirty-year-old med school dropout Cassie works at a coffee shop by day and trolls for unassuming men by night. Every weekend, she pretends to be too drunk to stand at a local bar, only to stumble into the arms of a “well-meaning” gentleman who graciously offers to take her back to her house…oh wait, nevermined, it’s easier just to go to his.
Through different outfits, hairstyles, and makeup tricks, patron saint of vengenance Cassie snags a variety of self-important men who find that discussing the hardships of masculinity while quoting David Foster Wallace’s “Consider the Lobster” an aphrodisiac. A Cindy Sherman for the nightclub scene, Cassie projects what her targets want to see, all before holding up a mirror to reflect their attempts at assault.
Promising‘s rape culture revenge story is elevated by stunning cinematography, Mulligan’s intoxicatingly raw performance, and snappy soundtrack that packs a punch akin to Birds of Prey’s flashy bubblegum-popping good time. That is, until Cassie finds herself entangled with a past acquaintance, and is forced to come to terms with why she gave up her “promising” career years prior.
Cassie’s raw determination against patriarchal assumptions blazes more forcefully than token Christmas Day blockbuster Wonder Woman’s golden lasso ever could. Need we look any further than Cassie for our 2020 feminist icon?
Promising leaves us asking whose fault it is that promising young women’s careers – and lives – are shattered by date rape. But the real question is, whose fault are we comfortable admitting? From complicit taxi drivers to bartenders, Promising spotlights a culture that can’t question what it doesn’t want to see. Thankfully, this film makes it hard to look away.
“Promising Young Woman” is in theaters December 25.
Check out our exclusive interview with Tayarisha Poe, Director of “Selah and the Spades”!
Revenge is a dish best served bold.
1 in 4. 1 is someone you know. Yet statistics still feel so hollow sometimes, the faceless numbers easy to contort into some semblance of an argument to overturn one of the most critical cases in this nation’s history.
The coming-of-age Hulu Original film from writer-director Jason Orley premiered at the Metrograph last night with the core cast in attendance.
The Sundance Film Festival kicked off another epic year in dreamy Park City, Utah with much-anticipated film premieres, celebrity sightings, and a sampler plate of after-parties that extended into the wee hours of the morning.
The Lincoln Center hosted a special screening of Irene Taylor Brodsky’s documentary “Moonlight Sonata,” set to premiere on HBO December 11th at 9PM ET.
Not many of us are called to stories that center the Midwest, but for writer-director Noble Jones, who is a native New Yorker, there has always been something beautiful about small-town America.