Cassandra Thomas (Carey Mulligan) is the titular promising young woman. Once a medical student on track to become a doctor, she dropped out of college following her best friend's suicide. She then committed herself to finding would-be rapists in clubs and teaching them a lesson. However, when she unexpectedly meets a face from her past, Ryan (Bo Burnham), she is forced to face what led to her dropping out of college in the first place.
Written and directed by Emerald Fennell (Killing Eve) and co-produced by Margot Robbie, it premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival and also stars Alison Brie, Clancy Brown, Jennifer Coolidge, and Laverne Cox.
Following its premiere at Sundance, it was initially set to be released on April 17, 2020, but was pulled from the release schedule as a result of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic. It's currently scheduled for a fall 2020 release.
Tropes that appear in Promising Young Woman:
- The Atoner: Alfred Molina's character is one, and his guilt motivates him to help Cassandra in her quest for revenge.
- Downer Ending: Cassandra is murdered during her quest for vengeance.
- Driven to Suicide: Cassandra's best friend was.
- Female Misogynist: Subverted by Cassandra, but Madison and Dean Walker both play this fully straight.
- Jaded Washout: Cassandra could have been a brilliant doctor, and she left it behind, although for a very good reason.
- Playing Drunk: How Cassandra lures in her "victims" in bars and clubs.
- Rape and Revenge: Drives the plot.