‘The Curse’ Evaluation — Emma Stone & Nathan Fielder Make an Uncomfortable Present

The Massive Image

  • The Curse is a genre-bending, unusual, and darkly hysterical present created by Nathan Fielder and Benny Safdie that completely combines their comedic sensibilities.
  • Fielder’s cringey situations, Safdie’s intense stress-building, and Stone’s daring efficiency create the right tonal center floor for the present’s three leads.
  • The Curse tackles concepts like white saviors, gentrification, and lack of introspection via the lens of a house enchancment actuality present, making it a uniquely sensible comedy.

For the final decade, few folks have made their audiences as uncomfortable as Nathan Fielder and Benny Safdie. With Nathan for Youthe most effective comedies of the 2010s—and final yr’s The Rehearsal, Fielder has blurred the traces between actuality and fiction with hilarious exhibits which might be awkward, all the time stunning, and ceaselessly shifting. In the meantime, together with his brother Josh Safdie, Benny has develop into a grasp of depth and constructing pressure with movies like Heaven Is aware of What, Good Time, and the suffocating Uncut Gems. Individually, this pair has made a few of the most enjoyable leisure lately. However of their first mission collectively, The Curse, this assembly of minds creates one of many strangest and darkly hysterical exhibits this yr that manages to be an ideal mix of their sensibilities.

Picture by way of Showtime

The Curse

Co-created and govt produced by Benny Safdie and Nathan Fielder, THE CURSE is a genre-bending collection that explores how an alleged curse disturbs the connection of a newly married couple as they attempt to conceive a toddler whereas co-starring of their new home-improvement present. – Showtime

Launch Date
November 10, 2023

Emma Stone, Nathan Fielder, Benny Safdie, Corbin Bernsen, Barkhad Abdi, Constance Shulman, Gary Farmer


What Is ‘The Curse’ About?

Fielder and Emma Stone star as Asher and Whitney Siegel, a newly married couple who’re creating their very own dwelling enchancment actuality present known as Flipanthropy. On this present, the Siegels take houses and convert them into eco-friendly ones within the struggling neighborhood of Española, New Mexico. With the assistance of Dougie Schecter (Safdie), a producer and Asher’s good friend, the trio makes an attempt to create a present that not simply entertains but additionally informs—not solely of strong inexperienced practices however of all of the onerous work (gentrifying) the Siegels are doing in reforming this space.

However behind the scenes, the Siegels discover themselves in all kinds of issues. Their present simply isn’t attention-grabbing sufficient, they’re trying to have a child, Whitney’s mother and father (Corbin Bernsen and Constance Shulman) are well-known within the space for being slumlords, and the Siegels are nonetheless trying to be accepted by the neighborhood. However issues get even worse when Asher is cursed by just a little lady, leaving him to surprise if their latest unhealthy luck is probably all his fault—not figuring out that issues are going to get a lot worse earlier than they get higher.

‘The Curse’ Is a Excellent Mix of Nathan Fielder and Benny Safdie

Benny Safdie as Dougie in The Curse
Picture by way of Showtime/A24

The Curse works so nicely as a result of it finds the right tonal center floor for its three leads. With Stone, we get glimpses of the wilder, extra daring work that Stone has just lately accomplished with filmmakers like Yorgos Lanthimos. For Fielder, he can create cringey, virtually excruciating situations that you simply need to escape however can’t. And with Safdie, you get that equally agonizing stress that feels prefer it’s rising and rising till it has nowhere to go however to blow up.

Fielder additionally directed seven of the present’s ten episodes (with Damsel administrators David Zeller and Nathan Zeller directing the opposite three). On the similar time, Fielder and Safdie wrote all the collection (alongside frequent Fielder collaborator Carrie Kemper on two of the episodes). This melding of Safdie and Fielder makes for a wonderful combo. It’s typically disconcerting and all the time fascinating to look at. Fielder ceaselessly lingers on moments for nearly too lengthy, making the viewers reckon with the strain of a scene and forcing them into the embarrassing moments of the Siegels’ lives. Each Asher and Whitney are sometimes oblivious to how they make one another and others round them really feel, and that lack of self-awareness is all the time captured by Fielder’s unyielding course. Mix that with a haunting, evocative rating, produced by Safdie mainstay Daniel Lopatin and composer John Medeski, The Curse’s unnerving convergence of Fielder and Safdie is 2 nice tones that someway work in sync with one another.

However past simply being deeply humorous and unsettling, The Curse is tackling all kinds of concepts and ideas in a method that every one suits collectively properly. Not solely is Flipanthropy a sensible tackle HGTV exhibits, however that is additionally a collection that explores the concept of white saviors, the selection to do good issues solely when an viewers is round to witness them, the various, many issues with gentrification, poisonous relationships, makes an attempt to repair international issues with out pondering regionally, and a normal lack of introspection that may make issues worse for others. Whereas Asher and Whitney would possibly imagine they’ve their hearts in the precise place with their decisions, we see egotism get the higher of them, because it’s all the time their self-centered ways in which find yourself overcoming all else.

‘The Curse’s Performances Are Incredible—Particularly Fielder

Emma Stone and Nathan Fielder in 'The Curse'
Picture by way of A24/Paramount+

The Curse merely wouldn’t work with no trifecta of nice actors who can steadiness on the tightrope that this present calls for they stroll. Safdie performs Dougie in a method that makes us all the time query his intentions: he may very well be making an attempt to make Flipanthropy a genuinely good present, or he may very well be slowly making an attempt to tear aside the connection between Asher and Whitney. His troubled previous and his addictions make him each a sympathetic character at instances, but additionally a wild card—and due to this, he turns into an ideal Safdie character. Stone can also be wonderful as Whitney, as she makes an attempt to do the precise factor and shake the stigma of her mother and father, whereas additionally desperately wanting the eye {that a} TV present would give her. Particularly in a while within the season, as Whit questions the whole lot from the course of the present to her relationships, Stone is doing unbelievable work. Whit is usually an insular character, and but, via only a stare or avoidance of one other character, Stone tells us the whole lot we have to learn about what’s happening in Whit’s thoughts. Stone couldn’t be extra excellent in a job that calls for somebody who can play these extra severe moments in a single scene, earlier than flipping to a few of the trickiest comedy moments within the collection.

Nevertheless it’s Fielder who’s an absolute pressure to be reckoned with in The Curse. Asher is the encapsulation of the whole lot cringey inside this collection. From the primary few episodes, we will inform that Asher is totally uncomfortable in his personal pores and skin. He’s painfully unfunny, to the purpose that Whit tells him he ought to take comedy lessons, and after we study that Dougie used to bully Asher, we virtually perceive the place the bully is coming from. Asher is certainly the least likable of the Flipanthropy duo, which is made abundantly clear by a spotlight group, and it’s his actions that depart him and Whit to suppose they could be cursed. And to make issues worse, everybody appears to know that Asher has a small penis.

Fielder does an unbelievable job as Asher. In lots of scenes, Fielder is tasked with going toe-to-toe with an Oscar winner, and he holds his personal towards Stone, giving a very tragic and exasperating efficiency that’s gorgeous to look at. Fielder has typically been characterised by his monotone supply and straight-faced response to virtually any scenario thrown his method on Nathan For You and The Rehearsal. However in The Curse, we get to see Fielder act his coronary heart out, and he’s super in a job that performs to his strengths whereas pushing him additional than we’ve ever seen him go earlier than.

There’s Nothing on TV Like ‘The Curse’

Nathan Fielder, Emma Stone, and Benny Safdie talking outside a window in The Curse
Picture by way of Showtime

The Curse is among the most idiosyncratic exhibits in latest reminiscence, and a powerful combination of Safdie, Fielder, and Stone’s comedic sensibilities. Watching this collection unfurl and its characters battle and stumble makes it clear that there’s nothing prefer it on tv. Fielder and Safdie have proven time and time once more that they’ll create unconventional, staggering works, however collectively, The Curse is peculiar, confounding, and one of the sensible comedies of 2023.

Ranking: A-

The Curse premieres on Paramount+ with Showtime and on-demand beginning Friday, November 10, adopted by an on-air debut on Showtime on Sunday, November 12. New episodes premiere on streaming on Fridays, adopted by their launch on Sundays on Showtime.

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