Actress 'Couldn't Believe' the Review She Got. It Wasn't Good

Carey Mulligan speaks out against 'Variety' film review criticizing her looks
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 28, 2021 12:38 PM CST

Carey Mulligan was participating in a video series for Variety this week when she took the opportunity to call out the magazine itself. The actress suggested a review of her new movie, Promising Young Woman, published as the film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival a year ago, was evidence of sexism pervading the film industry, per the Guardian. The review's author, Dennis Harvey, wrote that Mulligan—who plays Cassie, a woman who tricks men into thinking she's too intoxicated to consent to sex—was "a fine actress" but "a bit of an odd choice as this admittedly many-layered apparent femme fatale." "One can (perhaps too easily) imagine the role might once have been intended for" producer Margot Robbie, Harvey went on. "Whereas with this star, Cassie wears her pickup-bait gear like bad drag; even her long blonde hair seems a put-on."

"I feel it's important that criticism is constructive," Mulligan said in a Variety video released Tuesday, noting the "criticizing or bemoaning a lack of attractiveness on my part in a character" was not part of that. "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." For that to happen in 2020, "I just couldn't believe it," Mulligan told the New York Times last month. "It felt like it was basically saying that I wasn't hot enough to pull off this kind of ruse," she added. "Why does every woman who's ever on screen have to look like a supermodel?" At that point, Variety tacked an editor's note on the review, apologizing for the "insensitive language and insinuation ... that minimized [Mulligan's] daring performance." Mulligan said the response "surprised and thrilled" her. (More Carey Mulligan stories.)

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