Mark Whelan Film Picks and Essays

Promising Young Woman & The Climb

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FilmReviews Apr13

Promising Young Woman (2020) [113m] **1/2 D: Emerald Fennel. C:
Carey Mulligan, Clancy Brown, Jennifer Coolidge, Laverne Cox, Bo
Burnham, Allison Brie, Gabriel Olivia, Molly Shannon, Chris Lowell, Max
Greenfield, Alfred Molina.
A med-student dropout (Mulligan) tends a coffee shop by day, but in the
twilight hours prowls the nightlife seeking justice on potential male
predators. A chance encounter with a former classmate (Burnham)
revitalizes her eagerness to resolve a traumatic incident from her past.
Slick and provoking statement on sexism and its indelible ramifications is
a perfect showcase for leading lady Mulligan, who is astoundingly good, but
the story gratingly pivots to contrivance and incredulity—especially towards
the finale—robbing the film of its initial impact.
Nevertheless, a fascinating and seasonable film worthy of discussion.
Feature film debut for Fennel, who also scripted.

The Climb (2019) [98m] *** D: Michael Angelo Covino. C: Kyle
Marvin
, Michael Angelo Covino, Gayle Rankin, Talia Balsam, George
Wendt
, Judith Godreche, Daniella Covino, Eden Malyn, Sondra James,
Todd Barry.
Diverting and offbeat saga of two pals riding the tumultuous
rollercoaster of life yet still harboring the will to endure each other’s
company
, heedless of their past infidelities and betrayals.
Actor, writer
, and star Covino takes no sides with his characters (mainly
his own)
, but successfully depicts an honest, moving, and disarming
comedy.
Wendt is delightful in
a small part as Marvin’s father.
Handsomely shot in the French Alps near Cannes where
, fortuitously, the
film scored well with critics and audiences alike.

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