AlRawabi School for Girls is an Arabic-language TV series directed by Tima Shomali, written by Shomali, Shirin Kamal and Islam Alshomali and starring Andria Tayeh, Rakeen Saad, Noor Taher, and Joanna Arida, alongside other cast members. The series consists of 6 episodes, each about 45 – 50 minutes long.
The official Netflix synopsis reads:
The bullied outcasts at prestigious Al Rawabi School for Girls plot a series of risky takedowns to get back at their tormentors.
– AlRawabi School for Girls review does not contain spoilers –
– trigger warning for bullying in this series –
Being the second Middle-Eastern series from Netflix must come with a lot of expectations. After Jinn, which was more supernatural, AlRawabi School for Girls caters more to the young adults out there and is a story set in an all-girls school. So, obviously, expectations are that we’ll get to see lots of female friendships, problems and issues, as well as a good amount of drama.
The trailer for AlRawabi School for Girls reminded me of Get Even, another thriller/drama series that was quite an interesting find. It promised to be the typical mean girl clique show where the powerful prey on the weak and stuff. But how does the Netflix show fare? Well…
Let me start the AlRawabi School for Girls review with how beautiful the series looks. The production quality is high and the sets and the people look beautiful. Plus, the cinematography is excellent. The colours pop on the screen and it’s absolutely flawless. The music, too, is great. One more thing, the actors in this show are stunning. So, if these are things that you really look out for, then you’re in for a treat.
Anyway, AlRawabi School for Girls gets it right with how all-girls schools are. The dress and nail checking took me back to my school days. However, everyone’s open and perfect hair and eyeliners were not something I related with. I don’t think strict schools like these allow you to do such things, but well. Next, is Layan getting rid of the stuff from her supposed boyfriend. If you know, you know.
AlRawabi School for Girls starts with Mariam, our protagonist, getting beaten up. We then go back to the past to understand how it all came to be. And, just as the trailer said, it features the mean girls-like setting, only worse. Layan is a manipulator like no other. Not only does she manipulate and beat her classmates, but she manipulates the faculty as well.
Anyway, AlRawabi School for Girls does not kid around. In the first episode itself, it goes from 0 to 100. The first episode is devastating to watch. The bullying that Mariam goes through, not only at the hands of her classmates but also the teachers and even her parents, is horrible. However, the second episode and beyond things look up slightly for the teen, but not so much for her bullies.
Something that made me wonder though, is it ok for teachers to tackle bullying with bullying? Don’t get me wrong, bullying should definitely be punished, but what the school decides to do with Layan and her gaggle of geese is to essentially humiliate them in front of the entire school and make an example of them. Is that the right way to tackle this or would this make them more bitter and destructive? Additionally, would this humiliation help them be better people and productive members of society?
Bullying is a horrible crime (yes, I said crime) that should be punished severely. But making students clean toilets is probably not one of them. Additionally, humiliating them on the stage? Doesn’t seem that nice either and just teaches everyone to be nasty to everyone else. But, I digress.
Another thing that is shocking to me is how women are perceived in AlRawabi School for Girls. What Ruqayya does is horrible, but what happens to her is equally bad. And what her mother says to her speaks volumes about women’s position in society, even in the 21st century. Also, the slut-shaming in this show, oof.
That being said, AlRawabi School for Girls is engaging as hell. As I mentioned, it just keeps on a steady and blazing pace and just gets better. I am glad that they did not stretch out the bullying part on Mariam, although there’s a lot of bullying you’re going to see throughout the show. However, if you’re triggered by bullying and stuff, then probably stay out of watching this. Most of the series contains a lot of triggering things, so please keep that in mind.
I am also a bit confused about our protagonists, whom we are expected to follow. As in, grey characters and all are fine, but Mariam, Noaf and Dina fight amongst each other every 5 minutes and leave at the slightest of inconveniences. I get it, teenagers can be temperamental especially when things don’t go their way. However, that doesn’t seem to be the problem with the mean girls, though.
Another thing I found quite shocking in AlRawabi School for Girls is that it’s not just Layan and her clique who are mean, the entire school is. Like, every student is mean to anyone and everyone and makes me question whether all of these. I mean, I know that teenagers are horrible, but this isn’t just one or two people, it’s literally everyone. After a while, thus, it feels like the creators have added in horrible things just for the shock factor, and nothing else.
Coming to performances, Andria Tayeh, Rakeen Saad, Noor Taher, Joanna Arida and Salsabiela A. are great. The last three, especially, are amazing as the mean girls. I almost forgot that they were playing a role, so much so that I really disliked them. So, you know, good job done.
Summing up: AlRawabi School for Girls
AlRawabi School for Girls goes fast and steady throughout its almost 6 hours runtime and keeps you hooked. However, the bullying can get a bit much for some, so be aware of that before you start off!
One more thing that I’d like to add, not all girls’ schools are like this and neither are women this horrible to each other. People who are like this need a serious amount of therapy to get over whatever problems they have. So, take that for what you will.
AlRawabi School for Girls is streaming on Netflix.Instagram & Facebook to keep yourself updated with the latest news and reviews.