FRESH REVIEW: A DELICIOUS AND DEVIOUS MEAL

Dating sucks. Dating apps suck even more. So, when we eventually try to put ourselves out there the bar is so low that one of the only things we ask for our match to not be is a psycho. Unfortunately we don’t always get what we want, but thankfully we have director Mimi Cave who takes a bloody and delicious bite out of the modern dating world. This is the type of film that benefits greatly from being in the “Midnight Selection.” To say a lot would just be cruel, but one thing that must be said is that this will be the gloriously nasty film that finally allowed Sebastian Stan to be free of those Winter Soldier shackles. For that reason alone, it is a real winner.

Sebastian Stan and Daisy Edgar-Jones appear in FRESH by Mimi Cave, an official selection of the Midnight section at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Noa (Daisy Edgar-Jones) is in the same boat as everyone else. She’s single and hates dating. She spends most of her boring day swiping left, and even when she finally does get a match the date finds a way to criticize her appearance multiple times, make her split the price on the meal (cash only), and go in for an aggressive kiss all in the span of an hour. If this is the only option that the apps provide than there must be no hope. Enter Steve (Sebastian Stan) a well-dressed, well-spoken and clearly handsome man who doesn’t know how to flirt in the produce aisle (where they have their meet cute). Even when we first meet Steve he comes off as boring, charming yes, but boring. But hey he’s cute enough for Noa to accept the date, “ I didn’t even know people still meet in person” she says to her apprehensive friend Mollie (Jonica T. Gibbs). What follows next is far from surprising, they have sex, they start a full relationship, they perform corny dance routines in Noa’s apartment. It’s all very Hallmark Original Movie. Then…things change.

Again to say more would spoil some outrageous fun, but this film is destined to become a cult classic and definitely the first sign that Sebastian Stan is about to have a hell of a 2022. Yes, the Romanian born actor never got a big chance to let his freak flag fly before being scooped up by Marvel to play the stoic best friend to Captain America. There was 2017’s I, Tonya but that quickly became an underrated performance only discussed on Film Twitter and fan accounts (Stan accounts if you will). Here he and Edgar-Jones deliver some of the best chemistry to come out this year and makes this critic want to see them reunite for almost every other film genre. Cave uses Stan to to display not only the worst of dating possibilities, but also a reminder that evil men will do everything in their power to make a woman feel like she is at fault and that she should be begging for the man’s forgiveness. It is a crucial element that stretches out for the entire 115 minute runtime, and while that runtime could have been chopped down there are so many vibrant and shocking moments that you find yourself fully stuffed by the end but more than satisfied. If Fresh becomes a breakout hit when it reaches Hulu on March 4, it will be the type of film that you jump at the chance to talk about with a friend or just maybe that lucky (or unlucky) person you swiped right on.

B

FRESH IS CURRENTLY ON HULU

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