“Nine Perfect Strangers”, a relatively new thriller series on HBO, aired it’s last episode on Sept. 22. The conclusion of the show has brought in a steady increase of viewers. Many have chosen to binge-watch the series rather than watching each episode as it was released, arguing this makes the viewing experience better. Nonetheless, “Nine Perfect Strangers” is a fun, jam-packed and emotional series full of wild turns.
The audience is first introduced to the main characters, all of which are going through their own struggles. The first is Francis (Melissa McCarthy), a struggling author in her 50s on the verge of a breakdown. She struggles with not being able to write the stories she wants or finding the motivation to do so.
Francis runs into Tony (Bobby Cannavale), quite literally, as she almost hits him with her car on the way to a retreat, in which the story takes place. Tony is a former San Francisco 49ers tight end with a drug addiction. Tony’s issues all stem from a career-ending injury he can’t seem to get past. As a result, he turns to drugs, and his life begins to spiral.
The next people viewers meet are Ben (Melvin Gregg) and Jessica (Samara Weaving), a couple struggling with intimacy trying to rekindle the flame in their relationship. Ben struggles with self-perception because he feels that he has never worked for any of his money, as he won it playing the lottery.
As a result, Ben struggles to connect to anyone and soils his relationship with Jessica. It certainly doesn’t help that Jessica is materialistic, and can’t enjoy her life if it isn’t documented on her Instagram. The couple's struggles lead them to venture to the wellness retreat with the other characters.
The next characters, Carmel (Regina Hall) and Lars (Luke Evans) are introduced simultaneously, as they meet at a gas station on the way. Carmel is a recently divorced middle-aged woman who struggles with anger issues. She has issues due to separating from her husband, as he chose to be with a younger woman. The events that led to her husband leaving fills her with rage, and she becomes a danger to herself and others.
Lars is a snarky news reporter, who doesn't care about others' feelings and spares no expense to get the truth. He is insecure and struggles with his self-image because he was attacked as a child for being gay. Lars fears rejection and worries that if he were to start a family with his husband he wouldn’t be a good father.
The final characters introduced are the Marconi’s. The Marconi’s are a family struggling with the death of a family member, Zach (Hal Cumpston), to suicide. The father, Napoleon (Michael Shannon), blames himself the most for Zach’s suicide, as he ignored his alarm the morning Zach killed himself. The mother, Heather (Asher Keddie), and the sister, Zoe (Grace Van Patten), want to experience being with Zach again now that he’s gone.
This situation is what sparks much of the controversy surrounding the wellness retreat, as the leader of the resort, Masha (Nicole Kidman), lost her child unexpectedly as well. The guests are treated with hallucinogens placed in their morning breakfast smoothies without their knowledge. The characters at first are weary to try the drugs but eventually come around to the idea, until they realize the real meaning behind their usage of them.
Overall, the show does a great job of allowing the audience to analyze the characters, as the psychologists and staff do within the retreat. The thriller aspect is light at best. Though shocking at certain points, “Nine Perfect Strangers” is not like any of the other thriller series Nicole Kidman has done; it seems as if this is what the creators were intending to do.
This series is deep and allows the audience to make judgments about the flaws and overall behavior of the characters. The acting feels authentic, which allows viewers to explore unique human experiences people may not encounter every day. This show is a quality watch and it’s perfect for any analytical viewer. No matter what they might be looking for, this show covers all the bases.