Derrick Dunn

Derrick Dunn

Sundance Review: Fresh

Mimi Cave flips the cinematic trope of a meet-cute with her directorial debut Fresh. Collaborating with screenwriter Lauryn Kahn for the film Cave gives the audience an interesting look at what happens when you meet the wrong guy. Frustrated by scrolling through dating apps, only to end up on lame, tedious dates, Noa (Daisy Edgar–Jones) takes a chance by giving her number to the awkwardly charming Steve (Sebastian Stan) after a produce-section meet-cute at the grocery store.


During a subsequent date at a local bar, sassy banter between the two gives way to a chemistry-laden hookup, and a smitten Noa who dares to hope that she might have found a real connection with the dashing cosmetic surgeon. Against her best friend Mollie’s (JoJo T. Gibbs) better judgement, Noa accepts Steve’s invitation to an impromptu weekend getaway, only to find that her new paramour has been hiding some unusual appetites.


Before I get into the review, I advise viewers to go into Fresh blind, if they can, to embrace the film’s surprises fully. Living in a digital age, it’s common now to find your next potential mate or booty call with a swipe, as it was to find apple pie a century ago. The opening scenes for Fresh quickly place us into Noa’s frustration as she deals with lame guys or ones only looking to get into her pants. It’s the little things in Daisy Edgar–Jones’ performance in the film’s opening moments that won me over, particularly in her body language. As someone who met his spouse online fifteen years ago, I’ve always been a champion for online dating, so I found myself identifying with Noa quite quickly.


So when Noa meets what she thinks is the perfect guy in the form of Steve, it isn’t surprising that she moves as fast as she does. The film’s strength continues as we watch Noa and Steve fall for each other. I’m almost positive that viewers can place themselves in the shoes of our two female lead characters as well. Initially, I wasn’t keen on JoJo T. Gibbs in the role of Mollie. However, over time, the character won me over. Gibbs has a speculator monologue where she subtly tells Noa to mistake good sex for genuine emotion. Furthermore, the scenes where her character Google stalks Steve are candid.


As our leading male, Sebastian Stan delivers another fun performance. Primarily known for his role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Bucky Barnes / Winter Soldier, I began to see Stan as a serious actor after his performance in

I, Tonya. In this film, Stan taps into the All-American look to become someone a girl could fall for, despite the red flags. The actor is great at playing a villain, and hopefully, this opens up some more doors for him.


I also want to commend the director and writer for their angle with the film. All of the blissful moments happen within the first twenty minutes before we, indeed, find out the film is about Steve’s intentions. The remainder of the film features stunning visuals and realism for men and women in the modern dating world. One particular scene involving Dayo Okeniyi had me in stitches, and you will know the moment when you see it. There’s also a great eighties soundtrack.


Featuring timely performances from its cast and moments that are sure to inspire dialogue, Fresh is worth a look.


Final Grade: B


Fresh arrives on Hulu on March 3rd

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