gergo09

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hungary, budapest
28

Promising Young Woman

i loved promising young woman and am rooting for it to win a few awards. there is a sense of contempt for non-niche films detectable/implied in a few reviews, which i don't think is fruitful when it comes to cinematic discussions. "high/art" (whatever that even means) culture does not exist, the postmodern ethos taught us so—and that should remain a point of reference when critiquing creative media, especially within a hollywoodian context. there seems to be a foil covering the eyes of a handful of individuals that filters out the film itself and only allows them to (mis)read its political and aesthetic (under)tones.

to me, the film is subversive enough—not that it's a requirement to feel immersed in a cinematic experience. genre and narrative are b(l)ended, which does not let the spectator map out a conventional arc for the characters or, with that, a clichéd viewing experience for themselves. it does resonate with the current political climate, i agree, to a certain extent. do not forget, however, that the ending showcases how far a female still has to go to bring the appropriate amount of attention to her cause. put differently, toxic masculinity is not at all destroyed in this film: on the contrary, it destroys—yet again—female agency. that's the core issue, in my opinion, that is being conveyed in a simultaneously subtle and in-your-face manner: subtle, as the leading character's last actions could easily be read as those of self-destruction, yet, as i just argued, it's not really her doing; and in-your-face, as female revenge is explicitly thematized throughout the film.

there is a play here that takes place: not only in terms of the genre, the narrative, and the tone, but also, importantly, in terms of the political gaze that reads female agency as revenge and, in turn, toxic masculinity as a thing that is being destroyed. if you look closely (pun intended), promising young woman does not confirm, and uncritically align with, today's "fashionable politics," as many put it. instead, it opts for showing the limits that should not be crossed for female lives to matter. death of one female to highlight another one's life and the death of "the toxic male" are not measures of solution because agency gets lost in both processes. society, however, has not yet reached that dialogic threshold at which preservation of being prevails over masculine fragility or female revenge. normative approaches to existence is still very much affected—and dictated—by western binary thinking (e.g., male/female, active/passive, good/bad).

promising young woman is a film that plays on these ideals to flip the perspective of the careful eye and reveal the oversimplification and the bias that make the uncritical spectator assume that it's about destroying the male, thus centering on "fashionable politics," and not about the extent to which the female is still being destroyed (by the male, by the norms of patriarchal society). about the unspoken, the unspeakable—the western societal complicity—that the female needs to be destroyed to reappropriate her ability to be heard. promising young woman is about the female voice that needs to die to be heard. as such, it was, in all its manneristic, disorienting eclecticity, a breath of fresh air—that needs to be inhaled (by the next generations) and hailed (by the current critics).

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