The Curse | Review by: Gal Balaban


Nathan Fielder and Benny Safdie's wild new creative effort starts off with a hilarious hook, parodying the staged nature of "reality" house-hunting shows on HGTV, but after a brilliant first 15 minutes, The Curse loses steam and begins to feel like it's mostly a series of cringe comedy situations. 

Emma Stone is fantastic as always as Whitney, a character so used to maintaining a helpful, giving image that any sense of what her real desires are, including her friendships and even romantic love, come into question. Fielder gives an intentionally unlikable performance but he also occasionally comes off as one-note. Safdie is far more hilarious as the couple's new HGTV series' director who is The Curse's de facto goofball character. 

The series effectively uses its HGTV backdrop as a means to explore performative activism and how deceptive reality TV and its stars' public image may actually be. However, it doesn't have as much to say about the communities these shows come across, as well as the destructiveness of reality TV, as it thinks. It's also riddled with a few too many subplots that do anything but contribute to the point, and unlike the Safdies' previous work, there isn't a feeling of tight anxiety or consistent wit throughout. 

The Curse has a creative concept and artists behind it but proves through its muted pace and tone that this would've worked better as a movie or even an SNL sketch rather than a 10-hour series.

Rating: 2.5/5

Review by: Gal Balaban 

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