This week, Amazon finally releases the hotly-anticipated Nine Perfect Strangers, but does it live up to expectations?
For those unfamiliar with Liane Moriarty’s book on which this series is based, the series is set is a boutique health-and-wellness resort that promised healing and transformation. Nine stressed city-dwellers try to get on a path to a better way of living by attending Tranquillum, run by the mysterious Marsha (Nicole Kidman).
The nine strangers attending Marsha’s 10-day retreat include Frances Welty (Melissa McCarthy), a best-selling romance novelist who hasn’t has a hit in a long time and is now in a state of crisis; Tony Hogburn (Bobby Cannavale), a faded sports hero no longer in the spotlight; Carmel Schneider (Regina Hall), a divorcee and full-time mum taking a rare trip away from her kids to get her mojo back; and Lars Lee (Luke Evans), a “wellness addict” attending the retreat as part of his regular grooming regime.
Then there’s Napoleon Marconi (Michael Shannon), who’s attending the retreat with his wife Heather (Asher Keddie) and daughter Zoe (Grave Van Patten). While their family seems picture-perfect to the average onlooker, they’re all hiding behind a shared tragedy. Heather is overly protective of Zoe , who is preparing for the 21st birthday while trying to hide the angry mess brewing inside her.
Rounding out this group of strangers is husband and wife Jessica (Samara Weaving) and Ben Chandler (Melvin Gregg), who are in desperate need of reconnecting. All of these strangers are dealing with their own pasts, which are just begging to be explored as the series unfolds.
But they aren’t the only ones hiding things as it soon becomes apparent that Tranquillum’s methods are unique…
Co-written by David E Kelly and John Henry Butterworth, the series takes a slow reveal method which leads to some amazing character moments. There’s lots of big names in the cast and all are given a chance to shine – it’s great to see Melissa McCarthy flex her dramatic chops, Nicole Kidman is clearly having a lot of fun with her character, and Asher Keddie’s character arc allows international audiences to see another home-grown talent.
Full of secrets, Nine Perfect Strangers is a welcome escape in lockdown and is sure to entertain.
Nine Perfect Strangers launches on Amazon Prime August 20 with the first three episodes, with new episodes dropping weekly