In honour of International Women’s Day, I want to share the work of Emerald Fennell. Some may recognise her as Camilla in The Crown, but for me, Fennell is a screenwriter and producer whose work I have come to enjoy. What I like most about Fennell is her versatility in her career, which is only beginning to take off. Fennell’s most notable works include working on the acclaimed Killing Eve, and writing and directing the film Promising Young Woman. She is a master of both the funny and the dark, as well as everything in between.
Fennell’s talent is to always place a woman’s perspective at the heart of her writing. She doesn’t overdramatise; she explores what you or your neighbour might do in different situations. It’s more real. Sure, I love movies and TV that provide a sense of escapism, but sometimes you want something you relate to, and that you can really dig your teeth into. Fennell does not shy away from controversial topics: her film Promising Young Woman follows a woman who attempts to seek revenge upon those who dismissed the rape of her friend. She is is not afraid to fully explore cultures and attitudes around sex and sexual assault, examining multiple perspectives and perspectives we don’t always see. She forces her viewers to question the event that has just taken place on screen. It makes you feel uncomfortable, yet it is this feeling that makes me think how she writes and captures those scenes is necessary.
Dark humour is not for everyone, but I enjoy the approach that creators like Fennell take. They still allow for a message to come across in their work, but they don’t take everything too seriously. And in line with International Women’s day, Fennell’s written and produced work centres around strong female leads. The focus remains on the women and their character development. There are no stereotypical roles; relationships and motherhood are barely touched upon. It provides a change to a strong narrative within film and TV on what can be expected of a woman.
Emerald Fennell is an actor, writer and producer who creates characters and storylines that are relatable. She made a link through her shows and films that allow us to think of ourselves as the strong independent characters she has created. Now having several Golden Globe nominations under her belt from her film, Fennell’s work has begun to be recognised by Hollywood. And whilst her career isn’t extensive, her most recent pieces lead me to believe she is a creator to watch. I eagerly await Emerald Fennell’s future work; her next endeavour is collaborating on the West End production of Cinderella. She is an example that women can appear in front of the camera, but also behind it.
Image: Mark Jones via Wikimedia Commons