Emerald Fennell, who played Camilla Parker Bowles in The Crown, has already won a clutch of awards for her first film as a writer and director, including two Baftas. There may be more to come.
In Promising Young Woman, Carey Mulligan stars as Cassie, a young woman on a mission to avenge her best friend, who killed herself after being raped. At night Cassie goes out and pretends to be drunk, then exacts revenge on the men who try to take advantage of her. The result is “Thelma and Louise for the #MeToo generation,” says the Daily Mail, a “dark and provocative” film that suggests women are “just as violent, ruthless and full of rage as men”.
Fennell blasts in with “delicious nonchalance”, says Lidija Haas in The New Republic. The film is a “parable of the nice guy” that eschews easy answers and a “brilliantly queasy blend of genres: revenge thriller, social satire, farce, romantic comedy”. Cassie is “a contemporary Antigone… compelled to seek justice even when no one around her can recognise it as such”.
Dennis Harvey’s Variety review described Mulligan as an “odd choice” for the role – and was promptly denounced by the actress for implying she wasn’t “hot enough”. It was a nice dose of publicity that won’t have done the film any harm. With Mulligan nominated for the best actress Oscar, she – like Cassie – may find revenge is sweet.
Promising Young Woman is on Sky Cinema and Now TV. Watch the trailer here.
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The West Wing
Amid the fuss over last autumn’s presidential election, Channel 4 took the opportunity to buy up Aaron Sorkin’s billet-doux to US democracy, The West Wing. All 156 episodes are available to stream on All 4. Martin Sheen plays the fictional Democratic President Josiah “Jed” Bartlet, an erudite, fatherly leader who skippers a crew of wisecracking believers through an alternate-reality US of the early 2000s. The show’s critics argue that it is preachy and “unrealistically idealistic”, says The New York Times, but for something that ended 15 years ago, it continues to have “a peculiar relevance to public life”.
With its “unabashed liberal tilt”, the show was always “beloved by Democrats”, says The Washington Post. More recently it has been attacked by the left, who argue that its centre-liberal vision was so influential as to be “deleterious” to the real-life Democratic Party. All the same, The West Wing remains a “far better show than, say, House of Cards”.
From the first Latino Supreme Court justice to the threat of terrorism and the end of “don’t ask, don’t tell”, the series anticipated plenty of real-world events, says The Guardian. Bartlet’s successor, Matthew Santos, the first president from an ethnic minority, was based on a young politician called Barack Obama. Far from being rendered obsolete, The West Wing “might be even more relevant” today.
The West Wing is on All 4. Watch a trailer here.