Specifically on the reaction, I don’t think the emotion is laughable, I think the depiction was really weak and self indulgent. It was a kind of artsy crying and hugging trees situation of deep melodrama that seemed out of place and too long. We got the reaction from the moment we saw Cassie clock Ryan and it played out very well on her face as you hear his voice on the tape. That was powerful in itself. The next bit was overblown bloat.
I think I’m asking for something reasonable in a film that covers rape culture and trauma and goes on for about two hours. I’m asking for a character with motivations and development. We get the act one set up of slacker with a weird grudge, then the inciting incident of Ryan in the coffee shop, and some development as she tries to live a normal life and then we get a prolonged middle section of the twist revenges culminating in a pyrrhic defeat. This is where I think the film has issues because it presents initially as a hero’s journey and then slides into shoe gaze indie where development isn’t as important.
I have a pretty big issue with the treatment of women that I don’t think is solved by accepting that men do it so it’s ok that Cassie does. I understand the message that women are involved in rape culture as well, however I think it’s a bizarre choice to weaponise it on them in the context of a film where actual date rapists are given a telling off. If she was murdering the men, ok then it makes sense. What’s her message, if you don’t speak out for victims as a woman then you DO deserve assault? Some women DO deserve this to happen to them? For a film about revenge on rape culture, the message is muddy.
I just think I May Destroy You did this in a significantly better way and the film is an also ran. It’s very slick with a wonderful cast but leans on the fact it’s about rape culture to give it meaning and heft. I liked looking at it, I thought it was cute and the colour palette was nice. But I stand by weak dialogue (although maybe it would have been a good novel) and confusing/muddy plot issues, tone issues, a one dimensional protagonist and at two hours, it’s bloated. For me, any of those things alone make a kinda hokey film but all together, it’s messy. The emperor has some sick new duds with the praise this is getting, imo.