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Nine Perfect Strangers (2021)

What do you get when a group of wounded individuals converge on an upscale, secluded retreat that promises to transform their lives? Hulu’s Nine Perfect Strangers.

This finely woven series with rich characters, and superb acting, also features the stunning landscapes of Byron Bay in New South Wales, standing in as Cabrillo, California. This eight-episode series features a stellar and diverse cast including Nicole Kidman as the retreat’s mysterious leader Masha Dmitrichenko; Bobby Cannavale as the drug-addicted, former professional athlete Tony; and Michael Shannon, Asher Keddie, and Grace VanPatten as the grief-stricken Marconi family (Napoleon, Heather, and Zoe) who are reeling after the suicide of their son and twin brother. Melissa McCarthy also shines as a bestselling author named Frances who is riddled with self-doubt after being taken in by a catfishing scam.

With different levels of apprehension and commitment, the nine perfect strangers all give themselves over to the visionary hands (and unorthodox methods) of Masha and her (a little too) faithful employees (she’s sleeping with two of them!), an enigmatic Russian guru whose unconventional methods often approach or surpass the unethical (she micro-doses the guests with psychedelics added to their beautiful fruit smoothies, initially without their permission).

But Masha, a self-described “not so nice person” in the past, is suffering from her own devastating loss, which is connected to the history of another guest, the tightly wound mother, and jilted housewife, Carmel Schneider. Played to perfection by Regina Hall who is better known for her rom-com turns in movies like The Best Man (1999), Think Like a Man (2012), About Last Night (2014), and Girl’s Trip (2017), Carmel’s squeaky voice, too-sweet demeanour, and forced smiles, can’t fully disguise those something-is-not-quite-right eyes and her barely concealed rage that erupts against other guests and Masha alike.

Will Masha’s Tranquillum Retreat deliver the promised transformation they are all seeking? Will everyone make it out of the retreat alive? Tune in and find out!