Promising Young Woman (CREDIT : Merie Weismiller Wallace/Focus Features)

I’ve already published a rave review of Promising Young Woman that you can check out here, and now that the release date has finally arrived, I’ve got some spoiler-rific thoughts to share. This is all to say: SPOILER ALERT! So you know, don’t read this unless you’ve seen it or if you’re fine with knowing all the details ahead of time.

ONE LAST WARNING! Don’t click ahead unless you really mean to…

The PYW previews might have led you to believe that Cassie was raped before the events of the movie, but it’s eventually made clear that it was actually her friend Nina who was assaulted by Chris Lowell’s Dr. Al Monroe. Nina’s since passed away (presumably by suicide), and all that backstory now brings me to Alison Brie’s Madison, another med school friend of Cassie she lost touch with after she Madison got into a victim blaming mood. But she ultimately has a change of heart and delivers to Cassie a video of Nina’s rape that features Bo Burnham’s Ryan as one of the witnesses. Up until this moment, Cassie appeared to be in a good mental place where she could set aside her wrath and focus on the happier parts of her life. But emboldened by this new devastation, she gets back into vengeance mode as she crashes Al’s bachelor party, where she plans on carving Nina’s name onto his body. But instead, he manages to overpower her and crush her to death.

It’s an ending I’m still recovering from that I didn’t see coming but that I probably should’ve considered. I had hoped that Cassie could have found some solace, but I’m heartened by how effective this conclusion works as tragedy. And that’s especially thanks to two key scenes: the first when Molly Shannon as Nina’s mother has a heart-to-heart with Cassie and asks her to stop what she’s doing, and the other when Clancy Brown as Cassie’s dad tells her that he’s glad to have his daughter back and fully present. Whenever a violent act happens, the hate that springs from it sticks like a black mark to everyone involved and can last for years. It hurts so hard to know that even though plenty of love is still present in Cassie’s life, she isn’t able to hold on to it. But it at least makes for powerful, unforgettable storytelling.