It’s a shame that we live in an era where most people won’t commit to a movie before watching the trailer first. It sometimes feels like people would rather know every plot point than go in blind. The trailer for Fresh thankfully doesn’t give away everything. The marketing team did a respectable job at capturing the movie’s tone without divulging its secrets. Still, enough is revealed that the trailer almost does the viewer a disservice. If you’ve evaded any advertising, do yourself a favor and just stream it on Hulu.
Of course, the people who cut trailers for a living can’t simply tell audiences to “go see it.” Likewise, I wouldn’t be much of a critic if I told readers to watch a film without any further information. Fresh thus provides a fun challenge: review a movie in detail without going too deep into detail. It’s easier said than done, but if the mysterious allure isn’t enough to entice you, by all means, read on. Hopefully, this review won’t be too spoiler-heavy or vague for your tastes.
Daisy Edgar-Jones gave a nuanced and daring performance in Normal People, one of the century’s most honest romances. You could call Fresh a unique approach to the romance genre as well. Edgar-Jones’ Noa finds herself on a date with Brett Dier’s Chad, the definition of a douchebag. He makes Noa pay for her own food, criticizes her wardrobe, and wears a scarf indoors when it’s not even snowing outside. Noa’s only healthy relationship is with her bestie Millie (Jonica T. Gibbs). While their friendship is the film’s true love story, Noa has a charming meet-cute with Sebastian Stan’s Steve. Natural chemistry sparks between them, although Steve may be too good to be true.
We’ve seen how charming Stan can be in interviews, but he’s also transformed into SOBs like Tommy Lee. This makes him perfect to play a guy who looks like the whole package, but something about him just might be off. Even with that shadow of a doubt, the first thirty minutes of Fresh could easily pass for a romantic comedy. When the film does shift gears, though, it’s a hilarious 180. The less you know from there, the better.
It’s somewhat disappointing that Fresh isn’t playing in theaters. I’d love to pop in on an unsuspecting audience under the impression that they’re watching a date movie. While the sudden change of place is sure to inspire the biggest laugh and gasp, Fresh doesn’t lose momentum going forward. Director Mimi Cave and writer Lauryn Kahn strike an ideal balance of humor, suspense, and surprises. Stan has a blast in the role while Edgar-Jones creates a surprisingly relatable protagonist in a most unusual situation.
Based on the way I’ve built it up, Fresh might sound like the next Parasite or Get Out. I wouldn’t go that far. There are a few other characters who are introduced, but don’t contribute much. The film also might peak too early, as nothing quite tops the first bombshell. That is except for maybe one moment in a shower. Even if it doesn’t break new ground like the aforementioned films, the performances are phenomenal, the atmosphere is abundant, and if you’re looking for something original, this movie is certainly fresh.