As a fan of psychological thrillers, I was excited to dive into “Nine Perfect Strangers” starring Nicole Kidman, now streaming on Prime Video in Canada and Hulu in the USA. This show promises to be a real shocker with its twists and turns. In this post, I’ll take you through this gripping series and uncover the dark secrets that will keep you hooked until the very end.
The Hulu miniseries is based on the book by author Liane Moriarty, an Australian writer who has written eight novels, three of which have been adapted into successful TV series.
Her breakout novel, Big Little Lies, was published in 2014 and became a New York Times bestseller. The novel tells the story of three mothers whose seemingly perfect lives begin to unravel when one of them is murdered. The darkly comedic novel was praised for its sharp social commentary and believable characters. Big Little Lies was adapted into an Emmy-winning HBO series.
Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon snapped up the film and television rights. Liane was so dazzled by their combined star power she became briefly disoriented but recovered in time to accept their offer. The HBO limited series Big Little Lies was a critically acclaimed smash hit which went on to win multiple Emmys.
Moriarty’s other novels include What Alice Forgot, Three Wishes, Truly Madly Guilty, and Nine Perfect Strangers.
Blossom Films and Made Up Stories closed a pre-emptive deal for TV/film rights to Nine Perfect Strangers, which spent 13 weeks on The New York Times Best Seller list ahead of its November 2018 publication.
On May 1, 2019, it was reported that Hulu had given the production a straight-to-series order. The limited series was created by David E. Kelley, who also developed the series alongside John-Henry Butterworth who also served as executive producer alongside Nicole Kidman, Per Saari, Steve Hutensky, and Casey Haver.
On January 7, 2020, Melissa McCarthy joined the miniseries as an executive producer. On July 29, 2020, it was announced that Jonathan Levine was set to direct all eight episodes of the limited series and serve as an executive producer, while Gillian Bohrer joined the series as a producer. Yves Bélanger served as cinematographer.
On July 8, 2020, Evans revealed that filming would take place in Australia. He also revealed that all actors were required to quarantine for fourteen days in the city of arrival in Australia, due to regulations imposed by the Australian government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, all actors were required to be tested during the quarantine before filming could begin Principal photography began on August 10, 2020, in Byron Bay, New South Wales. On December 21, 2020, Kidman announced that filming had wrapped.
Kidman met most of the other nine actors right when filming their first scene together, and stayed in character as Masha during production.
Manny Jacinto, Asher Keddie, Luke Evans, Melvin Gregg, Samara Weaving, Grace Van Patten, Tiffany Boone and Michael Shannon, Regina Hall and Bobby Cannavale, Hal Cumpston and Zoe Terakes are the rest of the cast.
On the Hulu website, this is the synopsis of the series:
“Nine Perfect Strangers” takes place at a boutique health-and-wellness resort that promises healing and transformation as nine stressed city dwellers try to get on a path to a better way of living. Watching over them during this 10-day retreat is the resort’s director, Masha, a woman on a mission to reinvigorate their tired minds and bodies. However, these nine “perfect” strangers have no idea what is about to hit them.
A paramedic named Yao saves the life of a Russian businessperson named Masha. Ten years later, he works for Masha at a health and wellness spa named Tranquillum Home. The spa offers radical and controversial treatment programs that attract people from all over Australia. Masha plans an experimental 10-day treatment program that she believes will make her famous. She carefully selects the guests she invites to take part in her new treatment.
The guests include Frances, a romance author struggling to deal with middle age who was the victim of an online scam; Tony, an ex-athlete whose family now lives abroad; Jessica, a lottery winner obsessed with cosmetic surgery and social media; Ben, Jessica’s husband and the owner of a bright yellow sportscar; Carmel, a single mother of four who resents her husband’s leaving her for a younger woman; Lars, a gay divorce lawyer and spa addict; Heather and Napoleon, a married couple struggling to deal with the death by suicide of their son, Zach; and Zoe, Heather and Napoleon’s 20-year-old daughter and Zach’s twin sister.
I am a big fan of Big Little Lies, both the book and the miniseries. The HBO show’s huge commercial and artistic success was thanks to the stellar cast and the incredible direction of Canadian filmmaker Jean-Marc Vallée, who sadly passed away last year. Ally McBeal creator David E. Kelley produced Big Little lies and he teamed up with Nicole Kidman again to produce Nine Perfect Strangers.
I was beyond excited when I first heard about the series, It had Liane Moriarty, David E. Kelley and Nicole Kidman. But sadly, Nine Perfect Strangers is not on HBO and is not directed by Jean-Marc Vallée. This means it is a bad show. Is not. It doesn’t have the greatness of Big Little Lies, but it is not bad. Critics and audience haven’t been nice to the show. Mostly calling in soup opera and so on.
First of all, it has an outstanding Cast. Nicole Kidman, Regina Hall, Melissa McCarthy, Michael Shannon and Luke Evans are all movie that starts with great acting capacities. So only that you are for sure guaranteed to enjoy great performances. The location is so dreamy. Even thou is supposed to be California when in reality was shoot in Australia, the location is fantastic. The score by Marco Beltrami carries perfectly the series in suspense and drama.
Many people have a problem with the story, it may have to be with the advertising and trailers suggesting something different, or maybe they were expecting something more along the lines of big little lies. However, I think the story is very original. During Covid times, producers were finding a way to make shows with few casts and few locations. Like White Lotus did in a resort in Hawaii, Nine Perfect Strangers did in Australia in a retreat.
Lately, the use of psychedelics is coming back to light in the mainstream as a powerful healing tool. Heal the mind, heal the body. There is a fantastic documentary on Netflix about it, and in my last post: “Ancient Apoclapsye,” Creator Graham Hancock talks about the magnificent power of psychedelics to open the mind. It is a big topic to talk about, but not in this post; if you have the opportunity to read about the power of healing through psychedelics, please do it before watching the show.
The whole premise of Nine Perfect Strangers is that Nicole Kidman’s character heals in her retreat through psychedelics. It is an interesting topic because of the drug’s bad reputation, stigma and illegality. But, without spoiling the show, that doesn’t define the plot or the end… the characters embrace it. So I guess people expected to be more drama about the use of drugs instead of the healing of the nine perfect strangers. So, if you are in Canada, please stream the show on Prime Video, and if you’re in the USA, stream it on HULU.