Skip To Content

    Everyone Is Obsessed With The "Stars Are Blind" Scene In "Promising Young Woman"

    Finally, justice for "Stars Are Blind."

    Content warning: This post details the plot of Promising Young Woman, which includes references to sexual assault.

    Carey Mulligan and Bo Burnham dance in a pharmacy in a scene from Promising Young Woman
    Merie Weismiller Wallace / © Focus Features / Courtesy Everett Collection

    I have long been a defender of "Stars Are Blind" by Paris Hilton.

    Your periodic reminder that “Stars Are Blind” by Paris Hilton is the perfect pop song

    Twitter: @JennaGuillaume

    The song is pop perfection, yet was mocked relentlessly when it was released in 2006 because Paris was mocked relentlessly, and taking her seriously was extremely uncool.

    But with "Stars Are Blind," she released a banger that I have unironically loved for years.

    So imagine my delight when it showed up in Promising Young Woman, in what immediately became one of the most iconic lip-synching scenes of all time.

    promising young woman (2020) dir. emerald fennell

    Twitter: @thefiImcrave

    In the movie, Carey Mulligan plays Cassie, a med school dropout who wants justice for her best friend, who experienced a sexual assault in college. To cope with her feelings, Cassie spends her weekends pretending to be drunk in order to trick "nice guys" into trying to take advantage of her before revealing that she's sober and confronting them with their own predatory behavior. It's a destructive path that doesn't make her feel better.

    In the meantime, she reunites with a guy from med school, Ryan (Bo Burnham), who seems to be that rare gem of a man who is actually good. Cassie is resistant to having a relationship with him at first, but eventually she finds herself opening up. For a brief, bright, shining moment, she sees a glimpse of a life in which she could be happy and in love with him.

    This is all perfectly encapsulated in the "Stars Are Blind" scene. It's like a peak rom-com montage — pure joy.

    A lot of people are obsessed with the scene.

    @TheGreatKatee It is now mandatory for all straight men to memorize the stars are blind lyrics

    Twitter: @serviceablythus

    Mixed views on Promising Young Woman but if it brings Paris Hilton's 'Stars Are Blind' back into the discourse then it's worth it.

    Twitter: @oz_f

    Let's see how many more times I can watch the "Stars Are Blind" scene before my rental expires.

    Twitter: @sageyoungest

    Also, anything is a good time when Paris Hilton’s Stars are Blind starts playing

    Twitter: @chiapia

    @jacksonlangford justice for stars are blind

    Twitter: @lexgallagher

    Writer-director Emerald Fennell says she chose "Stars Are Blind" for the scene because it's the kind of song to make you instantly fall in love with a man who knows the words.

    🥺🥰 Love you Emerald and Carey! 😍 I’m so touched by your words and so proud of you both for killing it in this film! 🙌 👱🏻‍♀️🎥👩🏼 So impressed with you both! This movie deserves Oscars! ✨🏆✨ Everyone go watch #PromisingYoungWoman! 💋

    Twitter: @ParisHilton

    "I needed a song for this movie that, if a boy that you liked knew every word to, you’d be incredibly impressed, and you’d know he had good taste," she told EW.

    Indeed, Ryan knowing "Stars Are Blind" — and unashamedly singing and dancing to it in public — reinforces what has already been established about his humor, warmth, and, importantly, nontoxic masculinity. We get to watch Cassie fall under his spell — and follow right along with her.

    But we're being set up. The scene is lingering in our minds when, later, we discover, along with Cassie, that Ryan was actually present when her friend was sexually assaulted.

    He's just as terrible as the other men she's encountered, and the revelation is a gut punch that reinforces the insidious nature of rape culture and toxic masculinity. The heartbreaking message is made all the more potent because all the hope and joy generated with "Stars Are Blind" is proved to be false.

    And not to get too deep about "Stars Are Blind" by Paris Hilton — except, yes, let's get deep about "Stars Are Blind" by Paris Hilton — the lyrics add a whole other layer to the scene.

    The lyrics of the first verse and chorus of "Stars are Blind"
    genius.com

    They really work with the narrative. Cassie is someone who is constantly putting on different facades in order to appeal to specific men, but with Ryan she thinks she's found someone who will treat her right, who sees her for who she really is. Then it turns out that his nice-guy image is itself a mask.

    The use of the song is powerful on a meta level, too.

    Paris Hilton dances near a palm tree
    Warner Bros. Records

    Paris's frothy, pink aesthetic aligns with the movie, but, like Promising Young Woman, it belies hidden depths and real vulnerability and pain.

    At the height of her it girl years — when "Stars Are Blind" was released — Paris and everything she did and everything that happened to her were, on the whole, treated as a joke. This even applied to the abuse she experienced, including the revenge porn her ex released that featured footage of her when she was just 18. Paris has since spoken repeatedly about the trauma this caused her, as well as other abuse she has experienced.

    Her story is extremely relevant to the one being told in Promising Young Woman, and the use of her song from that era is a reminder of the way the conversation has shifted in some ways — but, combined with the narrative of the film, also reinforces how far we still have to go.

    All in all, the "Stars Are Blind" scene is a beautiful, layered moment that I'll be thinking about for a very long time.

    The “Stars Are Blind” sequence from PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN lives rent-free in my mind and I will *forever* be chasing that high

    Twitter: @zachbgilbert