Emerald Fennell's 'Promising Young Woman' Takes On Female Rage And Toxic Masculinity

The film which is all set to release on 25 December is an American comedy thriller which tries to showcase female revenge stories in a new light and expose toxic men.

Arunima Sharma
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The directorial debut of Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman that stars Carey Mulligan as the protagonist, addresses female rage and toxic masculinity in an entirely unique way. The film which is all set to release on 25 December is an American comedy thriller and tries to showcase female revenge stories in a new light, expose toxic men, and is also balancing the darkness of the film using comedy and the film's soundtracks.


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The script of the film revolves around a girl named Cassie, played by Mulligan, who is a brilliantly smart, former medical student, and many think of her as a "promising young woman." However, this woman's life is thrown into a tizzy after a sudden incident forces her to drop out of medical school. After which, nothing in her life is what it appears to be and she begins to live a secret double life by night where she crawls through nightclubs to seek revenge against toxic men.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Fennell, the film's director, writer, and co-producer said that her interest in female rage inspired her to do the film. She said, “ I just wanted to make something that felt honest and encompassed sort of everything that I'm interested in: Female rage and romance and heartbreak and horror," she says. "It just felt like all of our lives are so full of these strange contradictions and I wanted to make something that felt like a real revenge movie with a real woman at its center.”

In the film, Fennell has shown how men who pretend to be nice turn out to be preying. Among those who make an appearance in the film are Adam Brody, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Sam Richardson, Max Greenfield, and Chris Lowell. The film has chosen these actors to put its point forward strongly since all these actors are known for their "nice guy" onscreen roles. Fennell intended to show how this behaviour is normalised.

Actor Laverne Cox is playing Cassie’s friend Gail in the film and has tried to put light on the fact that toxic behavior is present in women as well. She said, “ " really invites all of us to look at ways in which we may or may not be complicit. What accountability looks like, what consent looks like."

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The protagonist of the film, Mulligan, noted that “There's often fatigue when it comes to subjects like this, particularly when change is required and I think if you make art to propel the conversation that can be helpful but that art has to tell the story in a new way." She further added that “I think what this film does so brilliantly is it talks about this kind of stuff in a way that's totally new and in a way people haven't seen before whilst being a really engaging brilliantly formed dark comedy."

The soundtrack of the film includes an instrumental of Britney Spears hit "Toxic," which offers a crisp balance to the dark elements of the film. Another iconic soundtrack in the film is by Paris Hilton; it's a full karaoke execution of the singer’s 2006 hit "Stars Are Blind" featuring Mulligan and Burnham.

Image Credit: Empire

Arunima Sharma is an intern with SheThePeople.TV

Toxic Behaviour Emerald Fennell Promising Young Woman Carrey Mulligan Female rage