The Exchange Season 1 Review: Kuwait’s First Netflix Show Makes Strong Feminist Points!
The Exchange, a thrilling, enjoyable six-part series set in the 1980s, Kuwait has at last made its imprint on the global stage. In it, two female cousins named Farida and Munira enter the largely male-dominated realm of the financial market and make their mark.
All of this occurs just before the US-Iran confrontation and Saddam Hussein’s extraordinary reprisal, albeit it does not significantly affect the main plot. The Exchange’s main plot device is instead the recontextualization of women’s roles in light of shifting feminism paradigms in the workplace. Without adopting a radical stance, the filmmakers have done a fantastic job of firmly grounding their narrative in the idea of female empowerment.
Nowadays, the majority of initiatives that include this much feminist critique overdo the messaging. To the point where it invites scorn and stinging criticism from the public. Nobody like seeing a lopsided representation of any topic. Such images also obscure the feminist movement and subject it to pointless gender equality litmus tests. However, The Exchange is immune to these problems. In reality, aspiring filmmakers can learn from the series’ creators for such a daring and unexpected portrayal of the two women.
The two women engage in parallel conflicts. Of course, one is at the Kuwaiti stock exchange. The other is a conflict they have at home that is personal. The public opinion is firmly against Farida and Munira. But even when it does not work in their Favour, the two ladies demonstrate individual genius and group tenacity to quell the storm.
While neither of the depictions is adequately layered, viewers have something to look forward to in the new way that commonplace situations like family discord are handled. The show’s attraction is enhanced by the costumes, makeup, and amusing portrayal of things left unsaid in discourse.
The images have a strong cultural flavour from Kuwait. We eventually become used to seeing the whitekaffiyeh sitting securely on men’s heads and the thawb freely flowing in all directions. Although such aspect may set the show apart, it does not ultimately serve as its defining characteristic.
Events in the world and how they affect the two women’s journeys are closely related. It can be interpreted as The Exchange’s endeavour to demystify and simplify how stock prices fluctuate. For many investors, the stigma associated with that has a profound emotional impact. However, other examples, including the one involving the bombing of the oil tanks and how the decline in beef prices has indirectly affected the pricing of pig and sheep, gently demonstrate that argument.
Every episode brings the story one step closer to addressing the confusing opening scene as Farida and Munira stand at the exchange amid intense water sprinklers. The storytelling is condensed to just six episodes, which is a major drawback. We don’t get a detailed, emotional look inside either household or have time for in-depth explanation of how women are viewed on a micro level. While Munira keeps closer to Saud from her job, Farida’s major emotional conduit is through her daughter Jude. It is a creative decision that was made out of necessity, but it turns out to work out very well.
The storytelling method makes it easy to quickly skim through the episodes. The mood is lifted by a cheery background score, and the events are presented in such a way that the viewer’s memory of them is sufficiently reinforced without much assistance from additional aspects. Rather than being a serious drama, the tone is lighter and leans towards humour. However, this does not imply that The Exchange does not contain any tense discourse. The difficult situations Farida encounters when competing with everyone else, including Munira, are particularly emblematic of her coming-of-age story.
More time is spent on screen with Rawan Mehdi, who plays Farida, than with Mona Hussain (Munira). When all you have to connect with is Farida’s sense of inadequacy, it is her difficult work to maintain your attention. Mehdi successfully completes it. In the close-ups, she exhibits a really amazing command of both body language and facial expressions.
She has an innocent demeanor, which undoubtedly heightens the mystery surrounding Farida. The work Hussain does is very different from Mehdi’s. Munira’s acting takes on a new tone since she is brazened, aggressive, and opinionated, but it still has a significant impact. We are intrigued by Kuwaiti movies and television series after watching The Exchange. A sizable audience base is sure to be interested in their debut product globally.