“Nine Perfect Strangers”, “White Lotus” and the Takedown Art of Wellness

The wellness industry receives uncomfortable treatments.

In “Nine Perfect Strangers,” a new Hulu series arriving Wednesday, desperate people arrive at a mysterious California wellness retreat in search of personal transformation. When a guest objects to the serene-looking staff members secretly rummaging through their luggage, the possibly psychotic wellness guru played by Nicole Kidman stares straight at him, unfazed. “But you are mine now,” she said, “and you want to be mine. “

The wellness industry is either a savior of lost souls or a more viscous force than snail serum – perhaps a little of both – in a new line of TV shows, podcasts, and books. The personal care industry, estimated at $ 4.5 trillion by nonprofit research group Global Wellness Institute, has taken the wellness lifestyle from the confines of health food stores to brilliant global brands. And for artists, it is ripe for the skewer.

“We’re all looking for that quick and easy fix that will make us all better, happier, and the ludicrousness inherent in this quest is very interesting and fun for me,” said Jonathan Levine, director of “Nine Perfect Strangers,” a series of eight episodes based on a novel by Liane Moriarty with a cast that includes Melissa McCarthy and Michael Shannon.

Mr. Levine, whose team put a camera in a blender to capture eco-friendly shots of smoothies, quickly admits he’s part of the culture he criticizes. “I’ll do anything for the promise of just being a slightly better person,” the director said, telling himself “a therapy person twice a week.”

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