Film Review: Fresh (2022)

With her dating life becoming steadily less agreeable, Noa (Daisy Edgar Jones) all but renounces her aspirations for a half-decent relationship. That is until, of course, until she meets a charming lad while shopping at the supermarket. Steve (Sebastian Stan) jokingly flirts about food before giving her his number, and the two agree to go on a date. 

Sparks fly, and soon Noa finds herself having unashamedly fallen for Steve, to both the pride and the concern of her best friend Mollie (Jonica T. Gibbs). Naturally, when Steve proposes an impromptu weekend getaway, Noa excitedly agrees. Things go great, until… they don’t. Saying more would lead us into spoiler territory, and this is definitely a movie I would suggest going into knowing as little as possible. 

Fresh is the directorial debut from Mimi Cave, and had its premiere at Sundance earlier this year. It serves a contained and genuinely fun and entertaining look at… shall we say, a not-so-fun-and-entertaining journey for its characters. Frankly, I was surprised (impressed) with not only some of the bold directions the plot took, but also how many laughs were squeezed out of them.

Stan’s performance here is easily the most memorable part of the film for me. Throughout, his character maintains a generally charismatic and charming demeanor, but it’s the way that demeanor changes as the film goes on that really stands out. Even though Stan maintains the same outward emotionality, the way the plot evolves makes his performance come across as very different moment to moment. One minute he’s the nice guy, the next… well… I’ll let you judge that for yourself. Effectively, Stan delivers on a character whose inherent charm serves both his charisma and creepiness — a fair comparison to be drawn would be to Lalo Salamanca from Better Call Saul. 

All that’s not to take away from the other performances here. Every role is relatively memorable, particularly that of Edgar-Jones and her emotionally demanding character. Unfortunately, I can’t help but feel that many of these characters are largely unnecessary. Although most of them are generally intriguing additions (something helped both by the cast and the writing) they’re not nearly fleshed out enough. It makes me think this would have worked better as a mini-series or even with just a slightly beefier runtime. 

But as much as I can poke minor holes in the film, I have to say there wasn’t a moment where I was bored. Fresh isn’t anything groundbreaking, per se, but it’s still a fair bit unique in its presentation. Still, I think those that enjoyed the eerie/funny ratio of Jordan Peele’s films or the femenistic catharsis of Death Proof will get a kick out of this. Come for the main course of Stan and Edgar-Jones and stay for the dessert of an inventive and entertaining thrill-ride.

Overall rating: 7/10

Published by Jeremy Bader

Aspiring writer, film and music lover, drummer.

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