The film, Promising Young Woman, by Emerald Fennell, gives all traumatized people, particularly women, an incredible gift: it does the work of destruction for us. As actress Laverne Cox says in an interview on the film’s Blu Ray, it provides us with the catharsis, justice, even at the cost of Cassie’s death, that life often lacks, as “Angel of the Morning” rises in triumph, however catastrophic for the woman at the heart of the story. For those of us watching movies in 1991, the effect is reminiscent to that of Callie Khouri’s Thelma & Louise, when women’s violent retribution was quite liberating until a devastating finale.
I think that art that bears the burden of our trauma, that achieves the revenge we think about, perhaps at times obsess about, does us great service. I choose not to spend my life cringing in fear or anger. However much I have endured at the hands of the careless and clueless, I will survive and celebrate what I have in this moment, however imperfect. People in my past have done enough damage. I can insist they harm me no longer. I can move on, caring for myself and my chosen others, doing what I want to do, being who I want to be. Enough is enough. The future calls my name.