Alright folks, if you haven’t seen Promising Young Woman yet, this is your only warning to get the hell out of this article and go watch it. I’m being serious. I don’t even care if you LIVE for spoilers. This is the one kind of spoiler that you absolutely do not want.
Okay last chance to get on out of here, everything after the trailer is going to be intense spoilers. We’re gonna break down that absolutely wild ending, which in my opinion is one of the best final minutes in any film, like ever.
Alright so if you’re reading these words, I assume you’ve seen the film. My goodness, what a film it was. There are probably a million thoughts running through your head, so let’s unpack them together.
So, the ending. Fuck. Never has a movie jilted expectations in such a sudden flash. For the entire film, you’re expecting a classic revenge movie where the protagonist ends up executing the perfect plan, and then… that happens. She loses. It’s over.
In those moments where things turn from power to powerlessness, your heart just sinks. I remember watching the scene where she is murdered with complete shock. Me and my friend were on the edge of our seats, pure silence, hearts sinking. This wasn’t the way the movie was supposed to end. She was supposed to get her revenge, leave, celebrate. This was awful to watch.
But that’s exactly the point of the film. You don’t want that to happen to her, but unfortunately in the world we live in, that is most likely what would happen to her.
The fantasy of film is completely cut, and you’re left watching disgusting realism. You’re reminded of how fucked men are. It’s horrible to witness, and it is drawn out to an uncomfortable level.
And that’s where the film shines. The moments after the murder, you are left in complete shock, wondering if the movie will just end with the men getting away with everything (as they always do in real life). Alas, there’s more shock to come, in what I like to call the film’s second ending.
Bam, we’re at the wedding, and suddenly things feel a little off. We then discover that she was prepared to die, and even timed messages to send out to the one guy everyone was rooting for, but ultimately failed us, Ryan (Bo Burnham). The fantasy of the revenge film is reignited, while still leaving a touch of ashy realism on your tongue. It’s truly masterful how the two worlds align with this ending.
You get the justice you’ve been waiting to see, but you also walk away knowing that it came at the cost of her life. Realistically, nobody wins in the end, which is something very few films pull off. In a way, it reminds me of Parasite, with its shocking twists and turns, and then utterly unexpected finale.
Director Emerald Fennell said in a recent interview with Variety that the original ending was going to have main character Cassie “put on a sexy outfit” and “kill a ton of guys!” Unfortunately, that situation didn’t really feel real enough for her, and I’m so glad she changed the ending to something more bleak and unexpected, despite how intense it was to watch.
Honestly, Promising Young Woman is an incredible movie that will stay in my mind for a long time, and whether you loved or hated the ending, I’m sure you will agree.
Now hey, let’s go celebrate, because the film was nominated for FOUR Golden Globes. Carey Mulligan DESERVES.