Article: Samara Weaving is Stellar in Hulu’s ‘Nine Perfect Strangers’
Decider | You know you’ve thought it: Nine Perfect Strangers star Samara Weaving looks exactly like The Suicide Squad Margot Robbie. Memes abound about how the two actresses look alike, and like Sex Education‘s Emma Mackey, Jaime Pressley, and more. However Hulu’s tense new drama Nine Perfect Strangers might prove for the first time that the similarities aren’t just skin deep. As Jessica, a frantically insecure Instagram influencer, Weaving shows off her massive amounts of range. She is, like Margot Robbie, a tremendous acting talent. They are alike in the best possible way, as artistic forces.
Hulu’s Nine Perfect Strangers follows the mayhem that unfolds over ten days at an exclusive wellness retreat lorded over by the mysterious guru Masha (Nicole Kidman). Masha’s unorthodox methods have drawn people from far and wide in the pursuit of self-betterment. In Jessica’s case, the Instagram influencer first seems to be arriving at Tranquillum looking for online clout, but it’s soon made clear what she really yearns for is a reconnection with her husband Ben (Melvin Gregg) and a way to overcome her crippling self-doubt. There’s a devastating scene in Episode 3 “Earth Day” when the picture perfect-looking woman lays into all her perceived flaws, to the shock and sorrow of the other women surrounding her. Jessica is a woman whose appearance may look perfect, but her inner life is a minefield of shattered confidence and self-loathing. Even the things she is proud of are jealously criticized by those around her, as Carmel (Regina Hall) projects her own insecurities onto Jessica.
Samara Weaving is a 29-year-old actress whose career kicked off in the traditional Australian way: on the soap opera Home and Away. After that, she moved to Hollywood, where she bounced around in supporting roles in projects as diverse as Ash vs. Evil Dead and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Her breakthrough came in the 2019 film Ready or Not, where she played a blushing bride caught up in her new in-laws’ sinister game. Weaving was a natural scream queen, subverting the genre while also showing a gift for dark comedy. She also gave a brilliant turn in Netflix’s Hollywood and as Ted’s daughter Thea in Bill & Ted Face the Music.
But really, she has this persnickety habit of being cast as the beautiful “other” woman. In S.M.I.L.F., Weaving played the woman the lead character’s ex left her for. (Same goes for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.) Weaving’s beauty often defined how other characters saw her roles. Lately, though, she’s managed to find room to subvert these expectations, leaning into the stoner comedy of Bill & Ted and playing a surprisingly righteous wannabe starlet in Hollywood. Nine Perfect Strangers, however, lets her go deeper, peeling back the layers of her character’s external beauty to reveal a person laden with neuroses.
In this way, Weaving really does feel like Margot Robbie 2.0, and I mean that as the biggest compliment ever! Robbie, too, was an Aussie soap actress who managed to successfully transition to Hollywood starlet. Robbie’s early breakthrough roles cashed in on her beauty. But what’s carried Robbie to international stardom is her incredible talent. It turns out Weaving’s got that, too.
Nine Perfect Strangers is a pulpy delight and a great showcase for its brilliant ensemble cast. Melissa McCarthy, Bobby Cannavale, Michael Shannon, and Manny Jacinto all deliver forth the kind of nuanced performances that make them stars, and so does Samara Weaving. Sure she looks a lot like Margot Robbie, but what matters more is she can act like her, too.