Finally come down, come out. Do yoga, meditate, get served healthy smoothies to detoxify. For example, wellness resorts planted in nature, from the Alps to California, advertise dearly – the more ambitious among them promise not only relaxation but “healing”. After a couple of days you should come out as a new person, a better person.
In Nine Perfect Strangers Nicole Kidman runs such a resort. But both Kidman in the role of the Russian guru character Masha and her luxurious “Tranquillum House” promise a lot more than a wellness stay. The ten days at Masha, as her guests learned from hearsay, should not be less than life changing be.
Anyone who wants to be healed, judged, healthy must surrender to Masha
At the beginning of the series, nine affluent people move into the fantastically sophisticated Tranquillum House, where architectural purity meets peaceful nature. The hostess, detached from all worldliness, floats around here, her platinum blonde hair curling over equally flowing robes. Masha provides her newcomers with personal advisors who are supposed to take full care of the guests during their stay and prepare smoothies especially for them every day.
Is that a parody of Gwyneth Paltrow and her wellness empire? Paltrow, 48, Oscar winner, founded Goop in 2008, a company that had dubious success with pseudoscientific and sinfully expensive feel-good articles: jade eggs for insertion into the vagina promise crystal healing power, essential oils are said to lead to beauty and self-love – everything in the clean design that looked so good on Instagram. As a holistic wellness expert, Paltrow promises to this day, despite harsh criticism in newsletters and in her own Netflix series, sometimes extreme solutions to well-known problems. She deliberately gets stung by bees to treat an old injury, experiments with the psychedelic effects of ayahuasca, all of course for healing and self-discovery.
Nicole Kidman is probably no stranger to the world of Hollywood spirituals, with Paltrow she was in 1993 Malice – an intrigue together in front of the camera. But Masha, the resort manager in Nine Perfect Strangers, is darker than anything Gwyneth Paltrow has ever seen. Masha not only knows exactly the blood values of her protégés, but also seems to be otherwise omniscient. The mysterious thing about their concept is the attraction for the more or less lost souls who put themselves in their hands. Masha demands that anyone who wants to be healed, judged and healthy has to surrender to her. And healing is a bitter wish of their guests, who know prosperity but seek peace.
Frances is a writer who fails because of the changing zeitgeist (Melissa McCarthy). Yes, Carmel (Regina Hall) is overwhelmed by an indomitable anger towards her ex-husband. Sad influencer Jessica (Samara Weaving) fears that their marriage will soon be completely asleep. Not everyone here is traumatized, but – and that’s what wellness is all about – life could be a little easier, a little happier for them. After all, souls and bodies can be optimized without limits. “Most of the people who come here have good lives,” says Masha once, “they come to suffer”.
In the “Tranquillum House”, between the sauna and LSD experiments, one encounters the deepest abysses
Suffering, the cathartic overcoming of large and small wounds, is the goal of Masha’s protocol. In the end you should be like newborn. But whether this woman really knows what she’s doing or is simply insane, nobody here can say. Kidman, also co-producer of Nine Perfect Strangers, shines not only in the role for which she is already optically made. The series contains just the right dose of soap opera, forcing one with well-positioned cliffhangers to keep watching. And at the same time it is so well cast (Michael Shannon and Luke Evans also check into the Tranquillum House) and delivers without being there In therapy To be able to keep up with Arte, the psychograms of the characters are so convincing that it is worth looking further. There’s this hypnotic darkness in Nine Perfect Strangers; the series manages to convey the feeling that terrible things can happen here at any time.
Because there doesn’t seem to be any limits for Masha. In addition to more traditional wellness programs such as sauna, singing bowl therapy or meditation, she also lets her guests dig their own grave and subjects them to unsolicited drug experiments, “it’s called microdosing,” says she grinning. As the participants encounter their own abysses, it turns out that none of the nine got into the group by chance.
The story is based on the bestseller of the same name by the Australian author Liane Moriarty, who was also the novel for another successful TV series, Big Little Lies, also with Nicole Kidman, wrote. In eight episodes unfolds in Nine Perfect Strangers a gripping and clever drama about the secrets that everyone has brought to this resort – not least the beaming leader.
Nine Perfect Strangers, 8 episodes, on Amazon Prime