Mild spoilers for Promising Young Woman below.
If the pen is mightier than the sword, then in Promising Young Woman, the ink’s been replaced by lipstick. As Cassie (Carey Mulligan) channels her anger, grief, and guilt over the death of her best friend into a one-woman mission to punish men (and women) complicit in rape culture, the gulf between appearance and motivation is vast. In contrast to a spy who dresses to blend in, Cassie’s undercover attire is a flashing beacon that lures in her prey, and her ability to shapeshift through the local nightlife scene is made possible by the clothes, makeup, and hairstyles she adopts to appeal to her targets. Each undone button and crinkle is part of the overall ruse, and Cassie’s revolving closet is as purposeful as her imperfectly applied eyeliner.