‘Promising Young Woman’ is one of Carey Mulligan’s finest performances. Directed, written, and produced by Emerald Fennel, this dark comedy thriller promises to stay with the viewers for a long time. Following a tragic event, a former student of medicine, Cassie (Mulligan), alters her course of life to deal with the men who she feels have wronged her and hold them accountable for their actions. But when the opportunity arises to fix her past mistakes, things take an unexpected turn. The one-of-a-kind revenge thriller is peppered with humor but will compel you to take a long and hard look at yourself. If you enjoyed watching this film, surely you will also appreciate the movies listed below. You can watch most of these movies similar to ‘Promising Young Woman’ on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.
7. The Frozen Ground (2013)
Like all the “nice guys” in ‘Promising Young Woman,’ Robert Hansen (John Cusack) is the ultimate “nice guy.” He is a family man with an incredible reputation in the community, but only unfortunate women have seen the side to him that they could never live to warn the others about. Cindy Paulson (Vanessa Hudgens) is the only one who manages to escape from his clutches, but no one believes that she experienced sexual violence because she is a sex worker who also lied about her age. Eventually, she becomes an important link in the case and plays a central role in bringing Hansen to justice.
6. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
Unfortunate events have made Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara) into the steely nerved protagonist we will never forget. She is a highly skilled hacker who is determined to find out what happened to Harriet. She strikes a deal with Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig), a journalist on a mission to recover his reputation, and together, they get to the root of Harriet’s disappearance. Years of sexual abuse at the hands of her own family forced Harriet to do what she does. And as for Lisbeth, she has her own ways of dealing with the “guardian” who is supposed to be responsible but takes advantage of her instead.
5. I Spit on Your Grave (2010)
What an incident can trigger off in a person can sometimes be very hard to digest. This film is not for the faint-hearted as it pulls back on nothing as far as a rape-revenge film is concerned. ‘I Spit on Your Grave’ is a remake of the 1978 cult film that stirred up many controversies. It follows Jennifer Hills (Sarah Butler), a writer who moves to a secluded cabin to write. Her life takes a horrific turn when five men gang-rape her, for which she makes them pay fatally. Jennifer’s social behavior becomes the seed of an unspeakable response from the men who sexually assault her. In contrast, Cassie puts a spin on similar behavior and uses it as bait to pick out the men who she thinks need to be taught a lesson.
4. Hard Candy (2005)
“People’s faces lie,” says Jeff, the man who has raped and murdered several young girls. When Hayley asks, “Does my face lie?” we know that no one and nothing can be taken at face value in this film. Hayley is a fourteen-year-old vigilante who traps Jeff to bring him to justice for his crimes in the past. Like Cassie, she is driven by purpose and traps Jeff with the behavior that “invites” sexual offenders to their “prey.” In this film, the mind games are as brutal as the physical torture as Hayley decides to deal with an issue that many have turned a blind eye to or have been unsuccessful in dealing with.
3. Elle (2016)
Director Paul Verhoeven is known for blending violence and sexual content with social satire. With the French thriller ‘Elle’ he takes us beyond revenge to show the intricacies of the mind of a person who has undergone sexual violence. Michele is a person with a muddy record of being involved with men who are supposed to be “off-limits.” When a masked attacker breaks into her house and rapes her, she avoids reporting it to the police, given that her father is a known mass murderer whose parole hearing is round the corner. What ensues is a dangerous game that blurs the lines between rape and consent. Although ‘Promising Young Woman’ deals with the concept of consent in a slightly different manner, the psychological impact an incident can have on a person is seen clearly in both of these films.
2. Lady Vengeance (2005)
The movie is the third installment of the ‘Vengeance Trilogy’ that follows Geum-ja Lee on her mission to exact revenge from the pedophile and murderer who takes away the life she was meant to have. It all starts when Geum-ja gets pregnant while still in high school. Afraid to return home, she takes help from Mr. Baek, who takes advantage of her and ultimately gets her incarcerated for a crime she did not commit. Like ‘Promising Young Woman,’ this film has an artistic appeal and uses dark humor.
1. M.F.A. (2017)
Noelle is a college student who faces sexual assault but receives no help from the authorities. On the contrary, she is questioned for the little things she said or did while being compelled to relive the horrific incident. The only option she thinks she has is to give the people who perpetrate sexual violence what they deserve. Like Cassie, Noelle starts to use her sexuality as a weapon against those who have wronged her and the others. Francesca Eastwood delivers a convincing performance of an angel-faced woman who becomes an unlikely vigilante.
Read More: Promising Young Woman Filming Locations