At the threshold of her thirties, Cassie (Carey Mulligan), who has resigned from medical school, still lives with her parents and stagnates in a small job as a waitress at the local café, with no real prospect for the future. On the weekends, she goes out alone to a club and feigns drunkenness, each time pranking a different man to take her home. And it never fails: none of them, even the most suitable ones, shy away from crossing the red line, taking advantage of their vulnerability for sexual gratification.

The first feature film by British-born actress and screenwriter Emerald Fennell presents itself as a feminist satire of a dyed-in-the-wool American society, where relations between men and women are still determined by patterns of violence and domination. Taking it upon himself to embody the challenges of post-

The film embarks on a traumatic slope consisting in probing the past of its heroine. It is obviously a tragedy, the loss of her best friend, Nina, raped on the benches of medical school.

A manichean world

Cassie learns that the culprit, a criminally cleared son from a good family, is back in town to get married. The young woman then implements a Machiavellian plan to punish not only the executioner left free, but a whole small accomplice circle, which overlaps with his former promotion. The heroine disguises herself as a party girl the better, from behind, to re-educate the male sex, a barely veiled metaphor for a film which, itself, sports a playful form and colorful colors to deliver, scene after scene, its message. .

Claiming to dust off Hollywood patterns, the film takes up the codes of the “rape and revenge movie” (literally “rape and revenge”), a sub-genre of exploitation cinema that appeared in the 1970s, in reaction to the hippie movement and sexual liberation. A curious reversal, which thus sees a form that was once openly reactionary serve, fifty years later, as a vehicle for progressive ideas.

The militant bias of Promising Young Woman does not plead for nuance, drawing a Manichean world, where all the male characters are potential aggressors, clumsily reproducing the abuses it denounces, such as making the victim, Nina, invisible. will know absolutely nothing. Nothing to be offended about, however: Cassie’s revenge obviously takes place on a symbolic, and even cathartic, ground, as before those of Inglourious Basterds (2009) or Django Unchained (2012), where Quentin Tarantino imagined reparations for the great crimes of history.

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