Cigarette Girl review: Laborious drama offers more than just heartbreak

In Cigarette Girl, the son of the owner of a Kretek-selling company unravels the tragic romance that his father and a gifted artisan shared back in the day. The series is now streaming on Netflix.


Raja, the owner of Kretek DR, a Kretek-selling company, is dying because of cancer, and he is longing for a woman named Jeng Yah. Raja’s youngest son, Lebas, takes his father’s request seriously and decides to search for Jeng Yah.

A letter and picture in his father’s belongings help him a bit. He then heads to the Kretek Museum in M City, where he meets a donor, Dr. Arum, whose mother is in the picture that Raja has retrieved from his father’s belongings.

Together, Raja and Arum search for letters such as these. Each one of those letters shares how their families are connected, their families’ secrets, and how everything fell apart.


The cast of Cigarette Girl offers great chemistry between characters, which is much needed in a romance drama.

While Dian Sastrowardoyo, as Dasiyah/Jeng Yah, and Ario Bayu, as Raja, show subtle and awkward steps of falling in love in the ’60s, Arya Saloka, as Lebas, and Putri Marino, as Arum, showcase their characters’ great partnership while they are learning Raja and Jeng Yah’s story.

The series takes place in two timelines, and the actors in both of these eras make sure to keep viewers glued to the screen in many different ways, be it Sastrowardoyo showing how ambitious her character is in the 60s or Saloka and Marino in their playful banter.


Cigarette Girl is a tragic love story that takes its form over time, but apart from that, it also uses the elements of ambition, the world of the Kretek industry, and the politics involved in it to spice things up.

The series is well-structured, one can say. For the slow pace that it comes with, the show has placed scenes at the right time, and scenes switch whenever a viewer finds themselves lost. Other than that, the revelations are also brought to light at the right time, and the shock value of those is maintained.

The writing of Cigarette Girl makes sure to keep both periods of the series different yet engaging in their own way. There is a slow approach to the story taking place in the 1960s and 1970s, whereas the follow-up of that story in the early 2000s is more fast and exciting.

Cigarette Girl is also a love story where one won’t understand what they are looking forward to. The characters are dreamy, but the story they have is realistic and sad. Nobody will want such a regretful life, and that makes the show more heartbreaking.


Cigarette Girl‘s pace is extremely slow, and many scenes could have been avoided. The series feels overstuffed at times, as there seems to be a lot going on.

The character of Dasiyah/Jeng Yah isn’t appealing and feels generic. She has the same traits that most female characters in period dramas have: a quiet, ambitious woman who is different from others. Nothing feels fresh about her.


Cigarette Girl is a touching love story that takes place in the world of the cigarette industry, which brings its own challenges and politics. While the viewers won’t find this story dreamy, its realism will keep them hooked and make them accept the unfortunate fate of the characters.

Cigarette Girl
Cigarette Girl review: Laborious drama offers more than just heartbreak 1

Director: Kamila Andini, Ifa Isfansyah

Date Created: 2023-11-02 12:30

Editor's Rating:

Also Read: Cigarette Girl summary and ending explained

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