Celebrate Carey Mulligan With Three Pivotal Films
From Pride & Prejudice to Promising Young Woman, her brilliant career continues to impress
On May 28, we’re celebrating Carey Mulligan’s birthday by re-watching three of her remarkable films.
From her debut feature, Pride & Prejudice, to her powerhouse performance in Promising Young Woman, Mulligan has brought a laser-like intelligence and profound sensitivity to exploring the complex social and political challenges faced by women.
While at the Woldingham School in England, Mulligan caught the acting bug. “I always loved acting and singing and took part in a lot of musicals in school,” Mulligan recounts to The Standard. “But I never got the lead roles.” Mulligan also didn’t get accepted into any drama schools, but such setbacks never slowed her down. After seeing Julian Fellowes present a talk at her old school, Mulligan wrote the creator of Downton Abbey for advice. Fellowes invited her to a dinner party with the casting director of a new production of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.
Mulligan was cast as Kitty, the rambunctious, flirty younger sister of Elizabeth Bennett (Keira Knightley) in the 2005 Pride & Prejudice. Vogue praised her performance, writing, “Beyond her dimples, ringlets, and fits of giggles is a conflicted teenager.” Screen Rant ranked it as one of Mulligan’s best movies. The film world also took notice of her remarkable talent. Within four years, she received her first Academy Award® nomination for her performance in An Education.
In great demand, Mulligan told Little White Lies, “I’ve waited for the parts that have had something to say.” In Sarah Gavron's Suffragette, Mulligan played Maud, a young laundry worker who gets swept up in the struggle for women’s voting rights in England, a turning point that Mulligan wished she’d known more about. Mulligan told Refinery 29, “I definitely grew up in a generation of girls who didn’t really know the full extent of what women went through to get the vote." Mulligan transformed her passion for telling this story into what Time Out called “a tremendous, awards-worthy performance.” As Maud, Mulligan distilled the chaotic, complex politics of the times into the dreams of one young woman. “Mulligan’s remarkably expressive face conveys the character’s profound but always credible journey from battered victim to articulate crusader,” writes The Hollywood Reporter, “But the actress also captures the terrible human costs of any unyielding political battle.”
In her Academy Award®-nominated performance in Emerald Fennell’s Promising Young Woman, Mulligan again captured a historical moment in an exhilarating performance. The actress plays Cassie, who works as a barista by day, but spends her nights crafting cunning traps for supposedly “nice guys” to avenge her best friend. Mulligan delivers a complex, calculating, and explosive performance. “Mulligan is the one to watch, the one you can’t stop watching. She’s vulnerable, fierce, brutally honest, and just plain fun in this,” writes The San Francisco Chronicle. The Guardian adds, “It’s hard to imagine a performance here that will burn through the screen with quite the same intensity as Mulligan’s furious and funny turn does here.”
For Mulligan, Cassie is just the kind of character she wants to play. “I’m much more interested in the women who are just sort of stepping out of the boundaries of what is deemed to be acceptable,” Mulligan tells Little White Lies. “I want it to be a conversation starter. Or a fight starter, maybe.”