Review: Al-Rawabi School for Girls
I personally don’t want to turn this financial newsletter into one where I end up giving my opinion and reviews on books and movies. But here are my 2 cents on the latest Jordanian Netflix show: Al Rawabi School for Girls.
It is commonly said that Art imitates life, and that Art should be a mirror to society. What is more striking to me, more than the show itself, was the controversy found online. Social media clearly divided itself up between the Pro- and Anti- Rawabi camp. It was the reactions that became the mirror to society, sparking a debate on the topic of the series itself and what should be filmed in Jordan.
From the Anti side, this was one of the funniest:
Imagine if Hollywood only stuck to Cowboy films and Spaghetti Westerns… what a boring world that would be. Jordanian film-makers should be encouraged to tell all stories possible, not just stick to one format only.
From the Pro side, we had this cringe:
There were too many debates, too many generalisations, ad hominem attacks on the director herself for implementing a foreign feminist conspiracy agenda and some accusing her of being non-Jordanian originally (which proves how uninformed these “critics” were as Tima’s father was very well known and her brother played for the local Feisali football club before becoming head of one of the most prestigious schools in the country).
A funny bad econ take also appeared:
I mean Netflix did “invest” in Jordan, paying the production team and crew to make this show, creating jobs…
The bad: a lot of the dialogue felt over dramatic and sometimes unnatural. The show in general felt like an imitation of the movie Mean Girls and Stephen King’s novel Carrie.
The good: Good high quality production. Good suspenseful teen drama. Ticks all the right boxes for the genre.
The best: One of the best scenes I have personally ever seen was the one where one of the high school girls gets sexually harassed by an elderly man in the hotel pool. The show here dealt not only with bullying and revenge, but what Jordanian girls/women go through on a daily basis. Kudos to the director for this.
I am a person who got stuck in the past enjoying classic Action/comedies so this was not a show I would watch over and over again.
But that won’t matter. All that matters to Netflix are the “numbers” : how many subscribers viewed it, for how long, from which country, age range, gender etc. The numbers were actually promising from the first week of viewing that the company immediately asked for a local marketing research company to conduct a survey study on the public’s reaction (in Jordan and GCC). Sadly these numbers are kept secret and are sometimes shared in their quarterly earnings (look out for the upcoming earnings release, we might get a glimpse or a mention). Only the numbers will determine if the show was a success and if Netflix should invest again in a second series or a completely new one in Jordan (other insiders say this show clearly fixed a lot of the damage caused from the production hell that was Jinn)
In the end, my rating would be: Meh!
PS: my next review will be on Adli Kandah’s latest publication on Jordan’s GDP.