After Reptile made a splash last week on Netflix, satisfying most viewers, but failing to convince critics, it appears that the streaming platform's new sensation, at least over the past weekend, is the erotic thriller Fair Play.
The movie, which feels plucked straight from the '90s and was directed by Chloe Domont, actually debuted first at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival on January 20, 2023, but it didn't hit Netflix until last Friday, October 6. Funnily enough, the opposite of Reptile's reception happened here: Fair Play is doing remarkably well with critics, hitting a notable 88% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but struggling to convince viewers their time shouldn't have been spent watching something else (51% at the moment).
Phoebe Dyvenor (Bridgerton) and Alden Ehrenreich (Solo: A Star Wars Story) lead the ensemble, which also features some familiar faces, including Eddie Marsan (Ray Donovan) and Rich Sommer (In the Dark). If anything, people seem to love Dyvenor and Ehrenreich's performances and how the movie explores what "a woman in power can do to a man’s masculinity". On social media some users said that Fair Play "doesn’t even feel like it’s a movie, it feels like I’m in somebody’s business" and that it "navigates female success and empowerment in the face of male insecurity and fragile ego in a harrowing, but raw way". The Wrap's Scott Mendelson, who seemed to really like the movie overall, went a bit further and added that it "is the kind of film that used to *make* movie stars".
In both the US and UK, Fair Play became the #1 most-watched movie on Netflix since it debuted, dominating the weekend and keeping the momentum going into this week. This is yet another reminder that, even if the conversation online isn't super huge, small and mid-sized movies can still fly under the radar and explode on release if the word of mouth and the subject matters are enticing enough. In the case of Fair Play, the movie has caused some division, but the pitch was attractive enough to make countless Netflix users hit the play button.
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