The Lamb Devours the Oscars 2021 – Best Picture – Promising Young Woman

by Rob · April 18, 2021 · LAMB Devours the Oscars, Periodic Features · No Comments

Every day until the Oscars ceremony we’ll be highlighting a different category or movie here on the LAMB! Here’s a link to all the posts written so far:

Today, Emily Slade of Why This Film Podcast is here to look at the Best Picture Nominee – Promising Young Woman.

Thanks Emily!

Promising Young Woman

I urge you to watch the movie before reading this review. I want you to go in with not a single spot of spoiler on you. Go in clean. Come hang out afterwards.

On the evening of 3 March 2021, Sarah Everard, a 33-year-old marketing executive, disappeared in South London.

On 10 March, her remains were discovered in woodland near Ashford, Kent.

A peaceful vigil was held for Everard on Clapham Common on 13 March that led to a ‘controversial’ police response.

A response that did not occur one week later an anti-lockdown protest or three weeks later outside the gates of Buckingham Palace as people mourned the loss of Prince Philip.

Promising Young Woman came out in the US 3 months before Sarah Everard’s murder, and it manages to take the rage. The sadness. The fury. The exhaustion. Every time a man has placed his hands on your lower back or hips to move you aside. Every r/whiteknighting. Every fedora. Every nice guy. Every time you’ve crossed the street. Put your keys between your fingers to forge a weapon. Every panicked phone call to tell people exactly where you are right now because it’s dark and there’s a guy behind you and.

Fennell and Mulligan chew it all up, open mouthed, and blow out a candy coloured bubble.

When I finished Promising Young Woman I spent £25.95 on a t- shirt with EMERALD FENNELL printed across it in pink. I painted my nails the same candy rainbow Cassandra has throughout the film. I downloaded the soundtrack and listened to it on repeat.

Everything I had been feeling for weeks. Months. Years. Was laid out in front of me, in the mainstream. And now it’s at the Oscars.

And yet i’m terrified to admit this movie means everything to me for fear of you instantly dismissing it. For fear of it not being taken seriously. Because when women like things, or do things, it feels like it’s not taken seriously. It feels like a record number of Youtube down votes on the trailer. Or the annoyance at the lack of male gaze. Or the constant disappointment or confusion from ongoing reviews that it’s ketchup trickling down her arm, not blood.

It’s ketchup you guys.
Because that’s the point.

One review claimed this film is “too frightened of getting its hands dirty”.

Now. I don’t know what your definition of “dirty” is.

Beware gentle reader, for here be spoilers.

But smothering the protagonist to death in a factually, time-checked 2 and a half minute scene, followed by Schmidt from New Girl confidently confirming to Bash from GLOW that he “DID NOTHING WRONG” as they then take the body into a clearing and burn it…

Pretty dirty from where I’m sitting.

Pretty horrific and scary.

But I dunno maybe you can’t relate.

Oh! While I remember, a serving met officer has been charged with the murder of Sarah Everard and the UK government just voted against amendments to the domestic abuse bill to place domestic abusers and stalkers on the Violent & Sex Offender Register but I digress. 

I get it – it’s easier for it to be blood. Calmer. Nicer. More cathartic. You’d prefer Schmidt to receive the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique? Or for Bash to have his genitals severed in the bathtub?

Or even for Alison Brie to…actually..have been..raped? Would you have preferred that? For your little rape revenge movie? That’s what you wanted to see?

Director and writer of Promising Young Woman, Emerald Fennell wasn’t able to attract financing with the end shot she originally wanted for the movie. Too dark you see. The candy coloured nails poking out from under the bonfire. So we got the wedding scene where the police jump in and ‘save the day’ I guess. I didn’t mind it. I kind of needed it, for the reasons stated above. Even if it’s a little. Yknow. For reasons stated above.

Oh also fuck off this is not a female fucking ‘Joker’ movie. Because not everything is a Smurfette or a Chipette.

  • Emily Slade