Promising Young Woman and the Limits of Female Rage

Promising Young Woman and the Limits of Female Rage
This article contains Promising Young Woman spoilers.

Cinema is full of stories of righteously angry women who have suffered at the hands of wicked men. Invariably, these stories also see those women reclaim power over their own narratives by brutally punishing the men responsible. In Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill, The Bride stands triumphant, holding a katana over the mangled bodies of those who have tried to do her harm. Jennifer Cheek makes the boys of Jennifer’s Body pay for their misogynist behavior with their own blood, literally feasting on their souls. Revenge socialite Jen reinvents herself as a gory action hero as she literally hunts down the men who violated her.

There are power poses and triumphant musical chords, all acknowledging that justice has, in fact, been served, and that bad men have been disciplined—that a heroine has claimed her power and set the world to rights again.
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