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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Me Tutu

Promising Young Woman on IMDb

Plot Overview

MadonnaCassandra “Cassie” Thomas (Carey Mulligan) grew up in conservative Vernington, Ohio with strong Catholic influences, parents who loved each other, and lady­like standards. She and her bosom buddy since child­hood Nina Fisher went to med school together at Forrest University where they excelled in their studies but fell in with a raucous drinking crowd. Nina's life path sounds like a fifties history lesson from Michael Barson & Steven Heller:

[Appearing] On the comic book racks by 1950, … these little morality tales were not always polite. [They had] provocative covers and stories with racy titles like “They Called Me Cheap”, “Men Didn't Respect Me”, [and] “He Ruined My Future”— (106)

Nina got a cheap “reputation for sleeping around,” the boys didn't respect her, and one of them Alexander “Al” Monroe (Chris Lowell) ruined her future. Cassie dropped out of school with her, to take care of her. That was seven years ago and now Nina is dead—by suicide?—and Dr. Monroe has gone to London to work as an anesthesiologist.

candy canesCassie lives with her mom Susan (Jennifer Coolidge) & dad Stanley (Clancy Brown.) She works as a barista at a coffee shop owned by her only friend Gail (Laverne Cox) and devotes all her spare time and resources to an endeavor reminiscent of one written about by Gerard O'Donovan:

July, 1922. Newly appointed ‘movie czar’ William H. Hays is about to arrive in town on a single-minded mission to clean up Holly­wood. He is said to be compiling a list of ‘undesirables’ whom he plans to bar from screen work. They call it the Doom List. (flyleaf)

“I can't help but wondering if we shouldn't all be well advised to rein in our revelries for a time. I keep hearing this scoundrel Hays is compiling a list of people to be barred from screen work because he considers them unsuitable or undesirable. Unclean, if you will.”

“… It's not just the movies we make. Hays says he intends to root out any­one he considers to be, in his words, ‘a liability to the decency, moral standing and public perception of the movie industry.’ Lots of good people who came out here to Holly­wood precisely to get away from sermonizing crazies back home will find them­selves having to get habituated to looking over their shoulders again.” …

“You're making Hays seem like one of the horsemen of the apocalypse. … Which one of the four would Hays be?” …

“What do I care? … Hays? There's only one of 'em the conniving little sleeveen could possibly be. Pestilence.” (10–11)

Cassie is following in Hays's footsteps, but she is the penny-pinching black horse of the apocalypse. She craftily discovers club denizens and college alumni in compromising situations, summarily inter­views them, implicitly threatens their liveli­hoods and social standings, conscientiously writes down their names in her naughty note­book, forcibly gets them to rat out their fellows, and ultimately lets town gossip induce others to look trembling over their shoulders and a whining Negro to head hastily for the hills. Yet the doctors' credo to Do No Harm she follows mostly … except she'll inflict some minor property damage when the fish don't bite.


Cassie by becoming a drag on society and trying to sock it to Al Monroe when he returns to Ohio, is engaged in social engineering, which has been known to back­fire à la, (Prov. 26:27) “Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him.” She's digging a pit into which stumbling young men are liable to sink their good reputations, but she's expending all her limited resources and passing up promising opportunities. Further­more, when she rolls Al up the stairs at a party, he's likely to tumble down on top of her.

Production Values

” (2020) was written and directed by a woman Emerald Fennell. Its opening scene is of a few guys discussing a female colleague's objection to being excluded from a “clients' meeting” because they were playing a round of golf together at a course that excludes women. Intro­ducing a woman into the mix changes the very way men talk together. Since this film high­lights guys talking among them­selves, to have it written and directed by a female, necessarily intro­duces a false note. Thanks for the heads-up; I'm not going to dock it in my review beyond calling it a chick flick. The cast is good, especially Carey Mulligan who plays Cassie. Her range is excellent; I don't think the movie would be the same with anybody else in the part.

MPAA rated it R for strong violence including sexual assault, language throughout, some sexual material and drug use. Surprisingly, there were no sex scenes per se, only brief inter­actions to illustrate what's acceptable between the sexes and what's not. The big taboo involves finger penetration under the skirt and below the camera. Better be sure the lady's cool with that. It's especially uncool if she is blotto or passed out unaware of what's happening. The crucial scene where Al does “YEE HAW!” on Nina is audio only.

In this movie what passes muster for consensual sex involves a wedding ceremony; it need not even be traditional as long as every­one knows the score. What is not OK, at least not for the parents of party Paul (Sam Richardson), is bringing some girl home unannounced to spend the night. And having sex with an under­age girl is statutory rape whether she looks older or not. The law protects men giving them the benefit of the doubt until proven guilty, but that doesn't mean the girl's mother will trust them with her daughter.

In this movie it's okay to kiss your date, or try to, but in any event brute force is never called for. If a girl goes on two dates without letting the guy kiss her or touch her, she's got problems. Between Cassie and her boss Gail, Gail had to answer “a few imaginary calls a day” to give her space, and when Cassie replied “No” to Gail's inquiry, “Are you dating that guy?” Gail retorted with, “Good for you,” correctly reading her body language. In this movie—as in real life—yes some­times means no and no yes. It's there­fore not a good idea to regard No as some kind of universal safety word. Stick to safe parameters.

A lot of the scenes show Cassie deliberately centered in the frame. This high­lights her penchant for directly confronting matters that are often put off to the side. The dialogue is lively and the suspense is palpable.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

I went to college in Ohio in the '60s and lived and worked there. I frequented the bar scene. There might have been sexual predators some­where but the place wasn't rife with them as seen in this movie. PYW paints Ohio as some kind of Sodom. No way! Sure, that was years ago for me, but the material I've quoted from the '20s and '40s is relevant, so why not live stuff from the '60s? Looks like this is a movie depicting a so-called rape culture the feminists find under every rock. Whatever.

Its serious, feminism-generated flaws are compensated for by great acting in the lead, a balanced reflection on sexual relations, and a plot that makes one care how it turns out. It takes place in a Never Never Land where Cassie never grows up. I hate to admit it but this movie is pretty good. Not the top of the line but up there.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Well done action scene. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Special effects: Well done special effects. Video Occasion: Good for Groups of Women. Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Overall movie rating: Four stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture quoted from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

Barson, Michael and Steven Heller. Teenage Confidential. An Illustrated History of the American Teen. Copyright © 1998, 2005 by Michael Barson and Steven Heller. New York: Barnes & Noble Pub. Print.

O'Donovan, Gerard. The Doom list. Copyright © 2020 by Gerard O'Donovan. London, England: Severn House Pub., 2020. Print.