Amazing piece you've written here John.
My girlfriend really wanted to watch this film & I eventually agreed. I wasn't super keen; I'd read some negative comments in passing — the type of oblivious, unhelpful commentary from critics who lack the empathy to see past a films production & genre presumptions to appreciate its wider value. Nevertheless, these were the comments I was using to fuel my protest at watching this film.
So the film starts and straight out of the gate I’m on the defensive. “This is just a shit Kill Bill, I don’t believe this, why is she acting so crazy” - the whole nine yards. It made me uncomfortable, as it should. By the end I realised that was kind of the whole point.
"Promising Young Woman is a movie for all genders, but it’s a very specific movie for men who should absolutely watch it, squirm during it, and have difficult conversations with the women in their lives after."
This is exactly what happened - my girlfriend and I had an hour long conversation about my reaction to the film and the deep sadness we both felt that men behave the way they do and that society enables it. The problem is so systemic, it can feel futile fighting it - which is why films like Promising Young Women are necessary.
I was reading snippets of your review out loud for my girlfriend. I was in the process of uttering something along the lines of "this guy is like a modern David Foster Wallace" when I read the final line - looks like I can't catch a break. It's not really a fair comparison to you either.
Anyways, just wanted to share that - great piece, I'm a big fan.