“ Promising Young Woman ” by Emerald Fennell Leaves No One Off the Hook: NPR


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at Promising young woman, Carey Mulligan plays a woman who stalkes sexual harassers by pretending to be drunk in bars and then confronting men trying to exploit her.

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at Promising young woman, Carey Mulligan plays a woman who stalkes sexual harassers by pretending to be drunk in bars and then confronting men trying to exploit her.

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In the dark comedy Promising young woman, Cassie (Carey Mulligan) works in a coffee shop by day and hunts down sexual harassers at night. She goes to the bars, pretends she’s drunk, and then confronts the men who try to exploit her.

Cassie avenges the death of her best friend, who, as the movie indicates, had committed suicide after being raped in medical school. Writer and director Emerald Fennell says the film is partly inspired by messages other films send about alcohol and approval.

“When I got older – and I think that is still the case now – in the movies, he made women drunk to sleep with them, fill their drink more than what you drink, and wait at the end of the night to see who was drunk in the nightclub, girls wake up not knowing who is sitting next to them – It was just comic fodder, “Fennell says. “We live in a culture where this kind of thing is normalized.”

Fennell began her career in television as an actress, then worked as a presenter for the second season of Eve was killed. Promising young woman It is the first movie that I directed. The film was nominated for five Oscars, including Best Director and Best Original Screenplay. Fennell describes the film as “a kind of fantasy – with wishes fulfilled” but also as something “darker, I hope is a lot truer than that.”

“I’ve always wanted to make a movie that, I think, people would really have fun, connect emotionally, and find all of these things, but [that’s] Nor is it a movie that allows anyone to get out of trouble, she says. “This is a really interesting situation for the filmmaker: to make the audience feel like they’re in familiar territory when they’re not.”

Interview highlights

About the film’s portrayal of sexual assault, especially with regard to alcohol

In Britain right now, the most incredible thing is happening, and that is that women and girls are writing about their experiences [with sexual assault] in schools. Honestly, the sheer size and sheer volume of these stories shows just how common this stuff is. There is nothing in this movie incredibly unnatural – and unfortunately – and it definitely was when I was growing up. And I think anyone who thinks these things weren’t horribly common has, I guess, probably never went to a party or nightclub, or flirted with themselves.

About Cassie’s character

This is a movie about a woman trying to find a way forward in a very sad and angry way. And part of her journey, and part of her coping methods is presenting herself as incredibly functional. Like a lot of junkies, I think she is somewhat addicted to these overnight cruises, which makes her feel better in passing. During the day, she wears a lot of pink. Her hair is always pure. Her nails are perfect – kind of whimsical pastel. She used her femininity as a weapon, not only in an aggressive way, but as a defense. Like, she knows people wouldn’t ask her much if she was in hiding in sight like that.

About why she wanted Cassie’s vengeance to scare men instead of committing acts of violence

Emerald Vinyl Promising young woman Won BAFTA Awards for Best British Film and Best Original Screenplay. The film was nominated for five Oscars.

Columba Giacomini / Getty Images


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Emerald Vinyl Promising young woman Won BAFTA Awards for Best British Film and Best Original Screenplay. The film was nominated for five Oscars.

Columba Giacomini / Getty Images

I guess part of the movie for me was taking a genre that I really love, which is the vengeance thriller, and seeing if I could … use that structure, that we all know, but do something unexpected with it – and most importantly, do something that felt like it Possible for me and a female, because I think a lot about these types of movies, especially when it comes to violence, it is not possible for a woman to commit acts of violence against men at night. It is unfair to expect it. And I think this movie is very clear about what will happen if I try. I really started thinking: If I’m going on a trip like this, what should I do? And if I can’t shoot and don’t qualify to wrestle with someone, what should I do to bring about some kind of change or to punish or intimidate people? I can do what you do, which scares them.

About whether to see a similarity between Eve was killed And the Promising young woman, In terms of how to subvert expectations

I think, for sure, that this sense of evil is something that you share. Anything that gives you that laughter / moments, is kind of “No! Oh my God. Yes!” It will always be a fun place to be. Sure, they both represent different types of genres, but I can say they are two completely different genres, and I’m always very careful not to do these comparisons, just because I also think that we tend to make comparisons between women-led projects a lot more than that, just in general terms we are All as a kind of community. I consider them to be noticeably different, but surely, I think, they share a kind of horrific evil feeling and the undermining of femininity.

About the portrayal of Camilla Parker-Bowles in the final season of the crown

I certainly do not consider her to be evil. I think what we increasingly realize – and certainly on the show – is that anything that touches the royal family, anything that is part of that is pretty weird. It is not like any other world. It is not like any other family. The circumstances are quite unusual. This is the thing that has always been interesting to me about Camila, is that she is actually very private. Camila I was playing, there are virtually no shots and no pics of her. … she was her school principal. She was incredibly famous. Everyone who has met her from the research says she’s incredibly funny, sweet, and fun, and I was very interested in what happens to this type of person when they get sucked into this world and then their résumés are written by other people. I’m definitely not saying having relationships is a good thing, but a lot of people do, and it takes more than one person to do it as well. I went to it, to be honest, as a fiction. It’s just an amazing genius drama.

Lauren Krenzel and Tia Chaloner produced and edited this interview for broadcast. Bridget Bentz, Molly Seavy-Nesper, and Beth Novey have adapted it for the web.


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