Savage Beauty review: this South African Netflix series is quite a slow burn

Savage Beauty officially released on Netflix on Thursday 12 May and here is what we thought of the five-part series. 

The series was created by Lebogang Mogashoa, and stars Rosemary Zimu, Dumisani Mbebe, and Nthani Moshesh. The series tells the tale of Zinhle, a young model that has been chosen by a big beauty company to be the face of their new beauty line. As Zinhle starts getting inside the family that rules the company, it is revealed she has a long vendetta against the patriarch of the family, and she will take everything from him.

‘SAVAGE BEAUTY’ IS A FAMILY DRAMA WITH A DARK SECRET 

Netflix’s latest African series Savage Beauty is focused around the Bhengu family, who own  a successful cosmetic company. The Bhengu’s are powerful and are definitely not short of money but their family has been marred by controversy. 

The controversies surrounding the powerful family escalate as the Bhengu’s apppoint Zinhle, played by Rosemary Zimu as the face of the company. Little does the family know that Zinhle is one of the children, that Don Bhengu (played by Dumisani Mbebe) and his first wife Grace (Nthati Moshesh) tested their toxic products on. These products resulted in the death of Zinhle’s sibling and damage to her and her brother’s skin.

“The series follows a story of a young woman who infiltrates the wealthy family whose harmful skin lightening cream tests destroyed her face, and killed her brother and friends. She becomes the invisible force that triggers their destruction, but will her humanity also be destroyed in the process?” reads the synopsis of the series.

Without giving away any spoilers, the Bhengu’s family dynamic is not your typical family. This means there are lots of unexpected plot twists as the storyline develops. All while two of the Bhengu kids want to be named CEO of the company.

IS THE SERIES WORTH THE WATCH? 

The first episode of the series is a little puzzling as the viewer tries to piece things together. However, as the episodes the storyline gets juicier and things start to add up. So, is the series worth a watch? Yes! 

There are so many interesting aspects to the storyline which includes the standards of beauty in Africa. Some of the products manufactured by the family’s company is for skin lightening which sheds light on the issue of colourism amongst people of colour. 

On the other hand, there are unexpected love interests and a wedding underway. Grace also comes off as cold but her softer side shows as the series progresses. Phila (played by Jesse Suntele) appears to be there just for the money, power and the life that comes with it, including drugs. 

While, Linda (played by Nambitha Ben-Mazwi) wants to be her father’s pet throughout the season, stops at nothing to prove herself.  However, how does the brother-sister duo react to finding out about the toxic products? Will they forgive their father after finding out about Zinhle or will the family unit remain intact? 

Take a look at the trailer…