The Exchange review: Equal parts adequate & compelling

Netflix’s first Kuwaiti series, The Exchange is set in 1980s Kuwait, following two fierce women climbing up the ladder in the male-dominated world of the stock market exchange.


Farida and Munira, two competitive cousins, begin working hard at the Kuwait stock exchange, trading stocks for Bank of Tomorrow. Two women against a giant building filled with men and their misogynistic treatment turn out to be a difficult and exhausting endeavor.

However, the two women are resilient and never-relenting. They use these traits of theirs to great use, and prove their mettle in successful trading, number-crunching behind it, and the market predictions influencing it.

Meanwhile, Farida tussles with the challenges her economical vulnerability bring to her personal life, contending with a daughter who’s entered puberty as well as a new school life that treats her harshly.

On the other hand, Munira tackles the challenge of being acknowledged by her own mother and family, as well as a pushy Saud, who keeps imposing himself and his marriage proposal onto her towards the end of his tenure at the bank.

However, the two women overcome the challenges and help Bank of Tomorrow come out to the other end of the 1987 stock market crash that affected countries all over the world, saving and preparing for positive growth.


Mona Hussain is flawless in her portrayal of the fiercely confident Munira, a woman who’s just as sharp in her trading skills as she’s proficient in her sense of fashion and style.

Mona also does a splendid job delivering the moments where even the force of nature that Munira is, can be vulnerable and lack confidence in the face of an absurd amount of adversity.

Rawan Mahdi plays the other lead in The Exchange, and does a job equally competent and brilliant as Hussain, delivering to great success, a layered performance that has a little bit of everything.

She can be vulnerable and aimless, while also confident and cunning at times. There’s a real catharsis her performance manages to impart onto the scenes where her hard work and perseverance pay off, against all odds.


The series highlights the crucial problem of sexism and misogyny prevalent in the 1980s Kuwait, and offer a truly inspiring tale of two feminist forces of nature going up against the tides of the male-dominated, conservative, and cutthroat world of the stock exchange.

The Exchange plays for a reasonable 6-episode-long runtime, and the pacing is an overall plus. While there’s no knockout performance, the cast does a commendable job with the different roles.


Given the strong and significant nature of the subject matter, as well as the time period that the series is set in, The Exchange ultimately feels like a run-of-the-mill affair, with no great risks or creative liberties making their way to the script or direction.


The Exchange is a fairly competent piece of feminist media that tells an inspired story of two brave women entering a male-dominated arena and proving their mettle, defying all odds stacked against them, as well as the sexism and misogyny of the patriarchal society they live in.

The Exchange season 1
The Exchange review: Equal parts adequate & compelling 1

Director: Jasem Al-Muhanna, Karim Elshenawy

Date Created: 2023-02-08 13:30

Editor's Rating:

Also Read: The Exchange season 1 ending explained: How does Farida save the bank?

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