LWLies 84: The Promising Young Woman Issue – On Sale Now!

Our spring issue celebrates first-time director Emerald Fennell’s scorching black comedy.


Hannah Strong


Cover Art

Laura Callaghan

Being angry is exhausting. It saps your time, your energy, your resources – it eats away at you until all that’s left is a vibrating husk of barely-concealed rage. I’ve been so angry for so long at so many injustices that blight our society, it’s often difficult for me to really get a handle on that all-consuming wrath, and more importantly, channel it into something more productive than impotently raging at the general machine. It’s some 30 years since John Lyndon shouted “Anger is an energy!” in Public Image Ltd’s ‘Rise’,  but the sentiment remains. As cathartic as a primal scream can be, I’m all for finding ways to harness my disgust at the current world order for good.

Even before I joined team LWLies, I really believed in its strapline: ‘Truth & Movies’. That’s what we strive for here, and I strongly feel our latest issue, celebrating Emerald Fennell’s incendiary feature debut Promising Young Woman, reflects this editorial aim. It’s not often we get to showcase a debut feature (the last one was Mike Cahill’s Another Earth) but we’re excited to be championing Fennell’s fiercely original film, which feels particularly pertinent given the fraught cultural moment we’re living in.

Order Your Copy

In Promising Young Woman, Carey Mulligan is a woman driven to take drastic action relating to an “incident” that occurred some years previous during her time at medical school. It’s hard to ignore the relevance of Fennell’s film to the ongoing movements around #MeToo and Time’s Up, but conversations around female trauma at the hands of a male-dominated society didn’t start with these movements and won’t end with them either. Fennell’s pitch-black comedy is hard to stomach at times, but a piercing, vital addition to the growing canon of films that allow women to speak for themselves rather than through the gaze of men.

On the cover

We reached out to Belfast-based illustrator Laura Callaghan to provide our cover and endpapers, and she definitely delivered. Her hand-painted portrait of Carey Mulligan as femme fatale Cassie Thomas certainly packs a punch. We previously featured Carey on the cover back in 2009 for An Education. She joins the illustrious ranks of Robert Pattinson and Joaquin Phoenix in our Two Covers Club.

In this issue…

Toxic Avenger

Emerald Fennell reflects on the experience of creating her debut feature and offers an impassioned defence of Paris Hilton’s singing career.

Fight Starter

One of the most fascinating actors working today, Carey Mulligan sits down to discuss smashing the patriarchy and why it pays to be picky when it comes to her work.

The Lost Careers of Difficult Women
Emma Fraser investigates the women whose careers were damaged at the hands of Harvey Weinstein, and how they’ve tried to rebuild them since.

A Female Rage Manifesto
Co-founder of The Final Girls Anna Bogutskaya offers up a compelling outline for women on the verge, both on and off-screen.

Experiment in Terror
42 years since its original release, Elena Lazic screens Meir Zarchi’s I Spit On Your Grave for an assembled audience, and appraises their response.

The Noble Stalker
Whoever said nice guys finish last? Leila Latif explores the rich – and disturbing – cinematic history of benign stalking.

Beware the Fluffy Pen
Abbey Bender presents a compelling theory regarding the ills of befeathered writing implements.

What is Thirst?
Ahead of her anthology She Found It at the Movies and the BFI: THIRST season, author and programmer Christina Newland provides a primer on female desire.

Waiting for Lunch
Little White Lies’ own Sophie Monks Kaufman and Hannah Woodhead exchange text messages regarding personal and professional frustrations.

Like Gangbusters
To coincide with the release of her wonderful portrait of youth in revolt, Rocks, filmmaker Sarah Gavron speaks to Hannah Clugston about the representation of girl gangs on screen.

Needle Point
Philippa Snow speaks to filmmakers Joe Lawlor and Christine Molloy about Rose Plays Julie, their haunting take on the rape-revenge genre.

In her regular column on fashion and film, Christina Newland investigates the film history of Polyvinyl chloride – better known as PVC.

Illustrations by Lauréne Boglio, Alice Carnegie and Simon Hayes.

In the back section…

Pedro Costa, legend of Portuguese cinema, speaks to David Jenkins about his latest masterpiece, Vitalina Varela.

Kleber Mendonça Filho explains the difficulty of navigating Brazilian politics as a filmmaker to David Jenkins.

Haifaa Al Mansour offers insights into her brand of feminism and the difficulties of being one of Saudi Arabia’s few female filmmakers to Fatima Sheriff.

Alice Winocour chats to Elena Lazic about Proxima, her space film which doesn’t actually take place in outer space.

All illustrations by Marina Esmeraldo

In review…

Pedro Costa’s Vitalina Varela, Rose Glass’s Saint Maud, Levan Akin’s And Then We Danced, Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles’ Bacarau, Julian Jarrold’s Sulphur and White, Oliver Laxe’s Fire Will Come, Andrew Kötting’s The Whalebone Box, Lorcan Finnegan’s Vivarium, J-P Valkeapää’s Dogs Don’t Wear Pants, Hlynur Palmason’s A White, White Day, Sarah Gavron’s Rocks, Hirokazu Kore-eda’s The Truth, Haifaa Al Mansour’s The Perfect Candidate, Michael Caton-Jones’ Our Ladies, Alice Winocour’s Proxima, Johannes Nyholm’s Koko-Di, Koko-Da, Ben Rivers and Anocha Suwichakornpong’s Krabi, 2526, Scott Graham’s Run, Henry Blake’s County Lines, Vaclav Marhoul’s The Painted Bird, Pablo Larraín’s Ema, Emily Harris’ Carmilla, Werner Herzog’s Family Romance, LLC, Aki Omoshaybi’s Real, Ladj Ly’s Les Misérables and Kitty Green’s The Assistant.

LWLies 84 goes on sale 10 March. Pre-order and subscribe here.

Published 9 Mar 2020

Tags: Carey Mulligan Emerald Fennell Promising Young Woman

Suggested For You

LWLies 83: The A Hidden Life Issue – On Sale Now!

By David Jenkins

Our Jan/Feb issue pays tribute to Terrence Malick’s extraordinary World War Two drama.

LWLies 82: The Uncut Gems issue – On Sale Now!

By Hannah Strong

Enter Sandman... Our Nov/Dec issue celebrates the unrelenting vision of directors Josh and Benny Safdie.

LWLies 81: The Judy Issue – On Sale Now!

By David Jenkins

Our latest issue pays tribute to an icon of Hollywood, as played by Renée Zellweger in Rupert Goold’s beautiful new biopic.

Little White Lies Logo

About Little White Lies

Little White Lies was established in 2005 as a bi-monthly print magazine committed to championing great movies and the talented people who make them. Combining cutting-edge design, illustration and journalism, we’ve been described as being “at the vanguard of the independent publishing movement.” Our reviews feature a unique tripartite ranking system that captures the different aspects of the movie-going experience. We believe in Truth & Movies.