Female revenge movies are not a direct result of the #MeToo culture that has rightfully woken up American society in the past couple of years, but there does seem to be a slightly different flavor to these films now. In recent films about female empowerment and independence, like Hustlers, The Assistant, and Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey, just to name three, the female protagonists are not victims, but active participants in their own circumstances, which just happen to exist in a world created by and made for men. Finding their place in that world, and finding a way to fight against the abuses of it, proves to be challenging, but most definitely achievable. These films not only share a commonality of theme and brand of protagonist, but they also share another trait which perhaps plays the greatest role of all: they are all directed by women. One thing we can credit #MeToo for, and the generally more progressive tenor in the industry of late, is more opportunities for women to tell their stories, not just in front of the camera, but behind it as well.
The latest entry into this genre of woman-directed, woman-centered rebellion movie is Promising Young Woman, starring Carey Mulligan and directed by Emerald Fennell, in her feature directorial debut. Fennell’s most recent credits are as writer and producer for the series Killing Eve, for which she was nominated for two Emmys. Killing Eve, ironically enough, is also in the genre of self-actualized women rebelling against their male abusers/keepers, and, from the looks and style of the new trailer for Promising Young Woman which dropped today, Fennell is fully in keeping with the style and tone of the popular BBC series, but with much more of a personal story to tell.
Mulligan plays Cassie, a smart, talented and beautiful woman who, in response to a mysterious event in her youth, is fully and perhaps a bit dastardly committed to carrying out what she perceives to be her revenge against all men, especially the ones who act poorly towards women. The trailer seems to amplify the black comedy revenge thriller motif, featuring Mulligan in what looks to be a career spotlight performance.
Promising Young Woman looks promising for Mulligan, whose career had stalled in recent years, since breaking out of the gate with an Oscar nomination for An Education back in 2009. Since then, she’s been strong in some widely-regarded films, such as Shame, Drive, The Great Gatsby, Suffragette, Mudbound, and Wildlife, but Promising Young Woman looks to get Mulligan back in the awards race as a lead actress, as talk of a Best Actress nomination is only heating up for her.
Check out the latest trailer for Promising Young Woman, from Focus Features, set to be released on December 25 in theatres.