IT’S a nice and tidy coincidence that sees Call the Midwife return to British television in the week the directorial debut of one of its most successful young exports is released

Emerald Fennell played Nurse Patsy Mount in the popular BBC series between 2013 and 2017. Roles in Drifters, Victoria and The Crown followed and, in 2019, Fennell wrote and ran the second series of Killing Eve. Two years on, the star has two BAFTAs to her name and no fewer than five Oscar nominations. She’ll learn her fate with the latter on Sunday night.

The film in question is Promising Young Woman. Directing her own script, Fennell fleetingly features here but plays a distant second fiddle to a never better leading turn from Carey Mulligan. Most recently seen in Netflix drama The Dig, Mulligan here plays Cassandra “Cassie” Thomas: woman scorned and future icon of indie cinema.

AT 30-something med school drop out, Cassie spends her nights feigning drunkenness in clubs, allowing men to take her to their homes, and revealing her sobriety when they try to take advantage. It’s a motivated ploy. Years earlier, we learn, an old schoolmate - Chris Lowell’s Alexander ‘Al’ Monroe - raped Cassie’s best friend, Nina, and faced no consequences. Not even an investigation. When Cassie learns that Al is to be married, she decides to take matters into her own hands.

Promising Young Woman is a revenge thriller with darkly comic undertones. Mulligan is divine, her character boldly and sharply hewn by Fennell and a mighty fine costume department. Likely lured both by the script and presence of Margot Robbie as producer, an all-star supporting cast includes Eighth Grade director Bo Burnham and Mad Men’s Alison Brie. Not to mention, Jennifer Coolidge, Alfred Molina and Molly Shannon. Fennell quickly proves herself to be a director more than able to inspire actors to bring their A-game.

Twists and turns add to a sense of pervading uncertainty as the film rattles along, leading to a shocking finale that, viewers may be surprised to learn, was once a lot more downbeat. Fennell’s output is distinctly Me Too in inspiration but delivery far more nuanced than lesser hands might have managed. An Oscar win might be a stretch for so new a face on the scene but surely it’s only going to be a matter of time.