Fresh Sebastian Stan movie
Sebastian Stan and Daisy Edgar-Jones in the film FRESH. Photo Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2022 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved

Sebastian Stan teams up with Normal People star Daisy Edgar-Jones to tackle the modern dating world with just a hint of the torment it takes eating at our own flesh.

First time director Mimi Cave knocks the proverbial nail in the coffin of toxic dating with a “fresh” examination of the pitiful and tiring way men approach dating, with one hell of a sick twist that is guaranteed to cook up a storm.

Within the first half-hour, feeling utterly defeated with the dating game, Noa (Edgar-Jones) has to endure misogynistic men and a barrage of unsolicited dick pics on her quest to find a fulfilling relationship until the perfect meet-cute falls at her feet at the local supermarket. Encountering Steve (Stan) down the veggie aisle, he charms her right off her feet with his less than conventional approach and wit. Dating commences, and by all means seem to be the perfect guy, although a few warning signs begin to seep through the cracks by his lack of a social presence. However, as the second act begins to creep in, a weekend away to his remote residence takes a turn after Steve spikes Noa’s drink revealing his sick and twisted end game.

What makes Cave’s approach in this story such a compelling and nail-biting endeavour is that it could almost feel like real-life to many of us single and disillusioned women navigating the horrendous dating scene. The rom-com/thriller, for once, takes Edgar-Jones’ performance, not over-bearing or a complete psychotic push-over that women are often seen as in this type of movie, and gives it an air of realism breathing some much needed fresh air that can easily be related to.

Neither over the top or understated, once we come to the spoiler-heavy plot of the story, there is an intense subtlety to Stan’s Steve, yes he is a sick bastard and he deserves everything that is coming to him but there is just a hint of a crack in his persona that would floor just the weakest of women, but this isn’t that story as the final act becomes a frenzy of self-perseverance. A little clumsy and generic at times but gives that satisfactory feeling of triumph.

Far from conventional, Cave takes on this social commentary unlike what we have seen in others, there is no heavy digging needed to unearth its central message, and it doesn’t slap you in the face either. It’s a promising start from the music video turned feature director that is certain to carve out her own path on her quest for a tasty piece of meat.

Fresh debuts on Star on Disney+, March 18, 2022.