Netflix Has You Go To Stream It Or Skip It: Savage Beauty, A South African Drama About A Woman Searching for a Beauty Mogul

Netflix Has You Go To Stream It Or Skip It: Savage Beauty, A South African Drama About A Woman Searc ...

The theme of family strife among the wealthy is so universal that weve seen it play out recently with a New York media empire (Succession), a Montana ranching family (Yellowstone) and two shows about local vineyards (Promised Land, Kings of Napa). So today we have a series involving a South African family, which now has a huge beauty empire, with an element of revenge mixed in for good measure.


Opening Shot: A woman enters a shower and sorts out what appears like blood. Then she starts putting on makeup.

The Gist: Worldwide business Bhengu Beauty is planning to unveil its new face following submissions from social media users. It''s an important day for Don Bhengu (Dumisani Mbebe), the mogul who founded the company from nothing; following criticism of the company''s overreliance on light-complexioned models and Photoshop, the selected winner, Zinhle Manzini (Rosemary Zimu), is a beauty who more reflects South Africa''s Black population.

Zinhle lives in the Bhengus mansion for a few weeks, under the strict supervision of Dons first wife Grace (Nthati Moshesh), and he is married to Thando (Angela Sithole), whom Grace constantly criticizes as a low-class drunk. There are no children in the group, but the kids Ndu (Oros Mampofu, Linda, Mozwi, and Phila (Jesse Suntele) are all working for him and jockey.

On the night of the reveal, a photo of Zinhle is used, showing her with a much milder complexion, like Don and Grace. As he attempts to blame Linda or Phila, Ndu accompanies Zinhle back to the home, mostly because he has a gift for her.

Another issue comes up the next day, as Don has a heart attack while having sex with a young lady named Ruby (Nandi Mbatha); when Grace discovers, her first thoughts are a succession plan and a strategy to get Ruby out of the way, mainly when a recovering Don informs her that he wants to marry Ruby and create more inherits.

Zinhle reaches out to her hometown of Soweto for a detoxification session for her recently-deceased cousin. This is when she and her brother Bonga discuss further of their plan to exterminate their displeasure on Don and Grace, whom they knew as early as their own, and are likely to blame for their death. As it turned out, Zinhle almost smothered Don as he lay unconscious after his heart surgery.

What Shows Will It Remind You Of? Savage Beauty feels like a pulpier version of Succession, combined with a already pulpy show like Revenge. ABCs recently-canceledPromised Land also comes to mind.

Our Take: Inspired by Lebogang Mogashoa, Savage Beauty is certainly a soapy watch, but its not a guilty pleasure. Why? Because it involves a tens of thousands of class issues. Mogashoa and his writers are adept at demonstrating them that Zinhles'' presence in the Bhengu family isnt by accident, and that she does not have to sacrifice this face of the Bhengu Beauty contest in any way.

Although Don and Grace did not care about Zinhle, her brother and her cousin when they were younger, it is still to be mentioned, and it doesn''t take a rocket scientist to know that their cousin died of something cancerous, and that Bonga has scars all over his face until the end of the episode. It''s not until the end when you realize that Zinhle is scarred as well, but does a fantastic job covering her scars with makeup.

Don and Grace, who appears to be more heartless than her husband, went to Soweto, a lower-class school, and tested early versions of their facial products on people there, causing horrifying results. So imagine if early versions of Bhengu Beautys products were so harmful that they burned peoples skin and internal organs?

Again, the first episode of the show isn''t going to outline all that. We just know that Zinhle is going for revenge, that Don Bhengu is a pretty bad man who considers women fertile wombs to be used to feed out their parents, and that Grace will do everything she can to keep the familys queen safe while keeping the pie from being split any longer than it already is.

Certain aspects of South African life, such as the fact that Don Bhengu is polygamous, may imply that you should purchase your Google machine. For the most part, a show likeSavage Beauty would have distinguished itself from an American broadcast network, minus some of the language and character.

Ruby and Don have sex, but there is a lot of nudity to them here.

Zinhle removes her makeup for the extensive scarring on the back of her head, running down to her shoulder.

Nambitha Ben-Mazwis Linda, a sleeper star, appears to be the Shiv of this family, who seems to be the most normal person, or at least the one who is working the hardest for her father, but has never received the recognition she deserves or wants.

Grace examines all of the flowers and cards she received at her home and says, "Youd swear Im the one who had a heart attack." Nah, she isn''t so bitter at all.

Our Call: STREAM IT. Yes, Savage Beauty is a pretty pulpy show. But it is pulpy in very good ways, with a revenge plot that speaks to both South Africa''s class issues plus concerns like colorism and the marketing of harmful beauty products to women.

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