“Finding Ola” is an Arabic-language series starring Hend Sabry as the protagonist, Ola Abd ElSabour. The series is not a continuation of the popular show released in 2010, “Ayza Atgawez.” While Ola remains the same, the series reimagines her life after a decade. The series encompasses the change in the lives of Arabic women; therefore, it places women’s empowerment at its crux. With a decade gone by and a significant change in the political and social conditions, women are leading their lives differently. There is a shift in the way women think, and that relatability is what “Finding Ola” attempts to bring to the table. The series is undoubtedly an enjoyable watch, with the right amount of humor and a set of well-sketched characters.
‘Finding Ola’ Plot Summary
While on the outside, Ola’s life looks perfect, it has its faults. Ola has a constant conflict with her mother-in-law, and her husband is not a great fan of Ola’s mother either. Ola is a full-time homemaker who decided to quit her job to take care of her family. She tries her best to make things work, but her life tumbled when her husband announced that he wanted a divorce from her. He felt that Ola was trying too hard to make things seem perfect when they were not. He wanted to be away from the pretense of happiness. When Ola was forced to accept this vital change in her life, her husband agreed to give Ola custody of their children. The first step she had to take was to find a job, though she had no idea where to begin. For years, she had been formulating a cream that acted like a miracle for her daughter. When her friends asked her what she wanted to do, she spontaneously replied that she would start a business with the miracle cream. A popular businessman was present at that friend’s gathering. He took an immense interest in both Ola and her business. From that point on, Ola embarked on a new journey that was uncertain as well as exciting.
The audience is always a part of Ola’s journey. Ola acknowledges the audience by directly looking at the camera and sharing her opinions. The space shared between the character, and the audience is intimate; she shares her deepest secrets with us. We are inside Ola’s mind, and Ola appreciates our presence with humor.
How Does ‘Finding Ola’ Break Stereotypes?
From a newly divorced woman starting a business in her 40s to the grandmother posing as the face of the brand, “Finding Ola” finds different ways to question the rules and bend them their way. The character Ola, whose life revolved around her family, had to learn her way back and rethink her life. She did not wish to depend on her ex-husband’s financial assistance. With the miracle cream, she decided to start a business. She was supported by her best friend, Nasreen, whom her ex-husband disliked for being too independent and a bad influence on Ola. After her divorce, Ola reconnected with Nasreen and shared an adorable friendship with her. The idea of how often we tend to let go of people we love for the sanctity of our relationships is well portrayed by their friendship. While Ola tried to figure out the dating world with Nasreen, she discovered that her ex-husband, Hisham, was already in a relationship with a woman much younger than him. Ola’s mother tried to instill hate within Ola for the new woman, and Ola herself was skeptical of her ex-partner’s newfound love. The woman in question was Omnia, an influencer whom Ola met at a Christmas fair. After much persuasion by Hisham, Ola decided to go for lunch with the two. As time passed by, Ola started accepting Omnia. She did not belittle her for being young, something that society constantly reminded them of. She respected their relationship even though her children did not feel the same way.
But things took a turn when Hisham learned that Ola was going out with someone younger than herself. At a gym, she met the guy, Adam, and they bonded. He introduced her to new experiences, such as getting a tattoo and learning to ride a bicycle. She started looking at the world in a different light. They watched the sunrise in the desert and felt a connection. When Hisham saw Ola and Adam at a party, he could not believe his eyes. He blamed her for not taking care of their children and wanted to take their custody. Ola was heartbroken. She could not imagine her life without her kids. The next morning, Hisham explained that he would not take the step, though he believed Ola should act mature. Ola questioned the difference in expectations; while he could enjoy his life with a young crowd and relive his youth, she was expected to act mature and take all the responsibilities. Ola questioned the expectation of women to take care of their children alone.
“Finding Ola” manages to express the importance of women supporting women. Even in the case of Ola’s mother, a woman with traditional values, she realizes that since childhood, she has always taught Ola to bear the pain and not reflect her internal struggles outside. She made sure that her daughter was confirmed according to society’s expectations. Later, with Ola’s progress and reasoning, her mother came on board as the face of the brand and also attended interviews with her. Though they continued to have their differences, Ola made sure to question her expectations and beliefs.
‘Finding Ola’ Ending Explained: What Does The Last Scene Signify?
At the children’s camp, Ola and Marwan (Zeina’s widowed father) became good friends. They were neighbors for a long time, and Zeina spent most of her time at Ola’s place with Nadia. It is at the camp that they started noticing one another and feeling comfortable in each other’s company. But their romantic bliss was soon disrupted by a call from the hospital. Hisham had a heart attack, and Ola rushed to visit him at the hospital. Marwan, who was a cardiologist, followed them and helped the family understand the situation. After recovering from the attack, Hisham had a change in his heart. He ended his relationship with Omnia and wanted another chance with Ola. Omnia was honest to say how she was merely a prop in his life that made him feel young, and now that he was physically unwell, he searched for his wife’s comfort.
Ola’s mother wanted Ola to get back with Hisham, but Ola was determined to not make that mistake. She explained to Hisham how even after he had left her suddenly, she had to respect his choice. She had to adjust her whole life for his one decision. She was now capable of running a successful business as well as taking responsibility for their children. Their relationship was beyond recovery, and she had moved way past that phase.
Even though Ola admired Marwan, their relationship was complicated. In the last scene, Marwan advises Ola to reach out to him when she has time for a relationship. She had too many things going on in her life, and he felt she needed time to figure it out. As Marwan got off the boat and reached out to help Ola off the boat, she refused to go along with him. She wanted to continue the boat ride alone. The series ended with Ola standing on the boat, with the city of Cairo in the background. The last scene signified how she was finally able to take complete control of her life; she did not need a man to enjoy her life. She completed herself. From the shaky Ola, she was now a confident woman who made sound choices in life. Her journey of finding, or rather re-finding, herself helped her realize her worth as an individual.
“Finding Ola” is an entertaining watch that will make you smile with its humorous approach. The series offers a better understanding of the social changes in Egypt as well, especially those pertaining to women and their lifestyles. The only drawback is the way the miracle cream business is shown in the series. While it is a work of fiction, the growth of the brand “The Second Chance” is too good to be true, even in the fictional world. While Ola did rebrand her products with the help of customization, one cannot help but think of the loss that the excess products lying on the shelf caused. The business hype was a little far-fetched, but the rest of the series more than makes up for it.
“Finding Ola” is a 2022 Egyptian Television Series streaming on Netflix.