‘Promising Young Woman’ and the Fallacy of the “Nice Guy”

In Promising Young Woman, Writer/Director Fennell uses the familiar character type of Ryan (sweet, funny, unthreatening boyfriend), to argue that ‘nice guys’ who are complicit in the sexual harassment perpetrated by their friends, are not nice guys at all. A nice guy, like Ryan, would never take advantage of a woman. But if his friends are doing it? He might just look away. What’s the consequence of complicity here? In Promising Young Woman, the consequence for Nina, and by extension, Cassie, is devastating.