Does The Ending of Promising Young Woman Ruin The Film?

Does The Ending of Promising Young Woman Ruin The Film?

Does The Ending of Promising Young Woman Ruin The Film?

Promising Young Woman was the talk of the town when it hit theaters during Oscar season. Many deemed the Carey Mulligan vehicle a boldly provocative and timely piece that addressed the power men could have in today’s society who would rather protect men in spite of a serious allegation. However, that ending left many critics and fans stumped. To recall, the climax of the 2020 feature saw the shocking murder of Cassandra at the hands of Al Monroe. Now, the murder was in self-defense due to the fact that Cassie tied up the husband-to-be and tried to exact some revenge over what he did to her best friend years ago, but Al and his best friend, Joe, opted to hide the truth by burning the body and moving on with their lives. Ryan – Cassie’s ex-boyfriend – further covers the truth by not revealing that Cassie went to Al’s party. Long story short, Al is eventually arrested for the murder of Cassandra, following a series of text messages that Cassie left before she died.

Now, I pretty much skimmed through the entire sequence for a reason as I really wanted to break down everything that happened. On paper, the climax makes no sense. To be clear, the message is completely sound, and you understand the events as its going on. The entire message of the film is the treatment of men from society and how any guy could be an Al, or Joe, or any of the random guys that tried to pick up Cassie during her fake drunk charade. The message is that society opted to protect Al and his group of jocks who raped Cassie’s best friend, Nina, who eventually committed suicide due to the traumatic incident. At this point in his life, Al is living happily despite the harm he’s done to both Nina and Cassie, and the latter wanted him to finally right the wrongs of Al’s past crime. She may have ended up dead, but the point is that her death was the only way that the cops would finally punish Al for his crimes. As I previously stated, this is a strong message as it does mirror society. According to a 2016 Justice Department analysis of rapes and sexual assaults that go unreported, 80% of these crimes go unreported. Why? Several reasons are cited, notably that most victims are worried about retaliation from not just the perpetrator, but society as a whole. Other believe that police won’t do anything to help. Without any solid evidence, the battle of he said/she said usually ends in favor of the perpetrator, leaving the victim scarred for life.

So basically, I understand the message in Promising Young Woman, but unfortunately, there’s plenty of holes in the climax. First, why didn’t Cassie just hand over the clear video that showcases the incident in question? The reason that Nina’s case failed is due to the fact that no one believed her, and since there was no physical proof of said incident, Al was able to get away with the heinous crime. Cassie officially had physical proof of Al’s incident, thus his case against Nina would’ve been re-examined because of the new evidence that came to light. Otherwise, why would she give Jordan the video if it was ultimately worthless? Originally, I actually lauded the bold ending, but then I simmered on it for a while and realized how troublesome it actually was. The ending would’ve been more effective if Cassie was never given the video evidence in the first place. And besides, people are cruel, but no one in their right minds would laugh at a woman being raped. Any decent person that had the footage Madison held would’ve instantly went to the cops. Maybe Al and the crew blackmailed her? Possibly, but that’s never stated in the film nor does it come across that way.

Another issue, Joe’s reaction to Cassie’s murder is unbelievable. It’s clear that Al’s response was in self-defense, but since there’s no one else to back-up his defense, its a matter of he said/she said. Cassie is dead. And this case would’ve likely opened up a can of worms on Al’s past, including that video of the prior incident. In theory, Al and Joe opting to get rid of the body is sound, but it should’ve been made clear their true intentions of simply going that route. In the film, it just appeared that Joe thought the best solution was to hide the body without much though behind the reasoning. There’s also the case of how the cops were able to quickly final Cassie’s dead body and pinpoint Al as the culprit. I assumed Jordan turned in the evidence and the investigation was going, but wouldn’t Al be questioned about the disappearance of Cassie first? Surely, he should’ve known that he was being investigated for murder! When you really take a deep dive in the way the climax took place, it actually has you scratching your head on the convoluted approach they decided to take on making their point clear. I’m not in the camp on this being a misogynistic film – case in point: Cassie spares Jordan from any punishment because he actually felt guilt over what’s he done – but the movie’s approach isn’t as black and white as it seems. In truth, I can still watch Promising Young Woman and enjoy it, but the film’s ending does muddle its message a bit.Promising Young Woman

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