Promising Young Woman star Carey Mulligan is responding to a review of the movie that insinuated she wasn't "hot" enough to play the role. The movie was getting decent reviews when it premiered last month, but praise for Mulligan and her performance has been on the rise since the movie began streaming. In Variety's original review of Promising Young Woman, Dennis Harvey stated that Mulligan is "a fine actress," though she "seems a bit of an odd choice as this admittedly many-layered apparent femme fatale."
The review continued, "Margot Robbie is a producer here, and one can (perhaps too easily) imagine the role might once have been intended for her." Dennis Harvey than says, "Whereas with this star, Cassie wears her pickup-bait gear like bad drag; even her long blonde hair seems a put-on." It was a review that stuck with Carey Mulligan. "I took issue with it. It felt like it was basically saying that I wasn't hot enough to pull off this kind of ruse." Variety has since edited the review with an apology, which you can read below.
"EDITOR'S NOTE: Variety sincerely apologizes to Carey Mulligan and regrets the insensitive language and insinuation in our review of Promising Young Woman that minimized her daring performance."
Carey Mulligan is grateful to Variety for the apology, but is still not happy about the original review. "It drove me so crazy. I was like, 'Really? For this film, you're going to write something that is so transparent? Now? In 2020?' I just couldn't believe it." The Promising Young Woman star thinks it's unfair to criticize an actress or actor's appearance, though she obviously believes that the performance is fair game for critics. In a recent discussion with Zendaya, the two actresses went over the review and apology. Mulligan had this to say.
"I feel it's important that criticism is constructive. I think it's important that we are looking at the right things when it comes to work, and we're looking at the art, and we're looking at the performance and the way that a film is made. And I don't think that goes to the appearance of an actor or your personal preference for what an actor does or doesn't look like, which it felt that that article did."
Carey Mulligan says women are ultimately being edited to look a certain way on the big screen. "We want to airbrush them and we want to make them look perfect. Or we want to edit the way that they work, the way they move and the way that they think and behave," she said. "And I think we need to see real women portrayed onscreen and in all of their complexity," she added. "So I felt that it was one small thing to point out that could be helpful." Since the review went viral, Mulligan has been getting a lot more attention.
In the end, Variety's review of Promising Young Woman has Carey Mulligan thinking about the future of reviews. "It didn't wound my ego, but it made me concerned that in such a big publication an actress's appearance could be criticized and it could be accepted as completely reasonable criticism." However, she is happy about the apology when all is said and done. "I was really sort of surprised and thrilled and happy to have received an apology," she said. "I kind of found it moving, in a way - to draw a line and know that had an impact." The interview with Carey Mulligan was originally conducted by Variety.