Written by Jimena Romero for Netflix, ‘The Five Juanas’ (originally titled: ‘La Venganza de las Juanas’) is a pulpy, melodramatic, and wacky mystery thriller telenovela. It keeps genre fans content with dark and stylized visuals, steamy sex scenes, and a brooding air of mystery. Five women, all named Juana, have the same birthmark. By the will of fate, they turn up at the same hotel, and conveniently enough, an earthquake brings them down to the patio.
After uncovering each other’s secrets, the girls come to realize that their pasts are somehow connected. Meanwhile, we get glimpses of Simon Marroquin, a hotshot politician who may or may not have a part to play in the mystery surrounding the “fishy” birthmarks. Following its premiere, the show was received reasonably well in the media, and critics did not mind the kitsch guilty pleasure telenovela. However, you may be curious whether the almost unbelievable story is ripped from the newspaper headlines. If that is what you are asking, let us try and find the answers.
Is The Five Juanas Based on A True Story?
No, ‘The Five Juanas’ is not based on a true story. Jimena Romero created the edge-of-your-seat thriller from a story penned by none other than the creator’s father. The show is an adaptation of Bernardo Romero Pereira’s 1997 Colombian telenovela ‘Las Juanas.’ A telenovela of international fame, the story was spun into multiple spinoffs and adaptations. Bernardo Romero himself brought back the story for the Mexican audience in ‘Las Juanas’, which originally aired from September 6, 2004, to March 4, 2005. A similar concept was again revived in ‘Moon Daughters’ (original title: ‘Hijas De La Luna’), another 82-episode long Mexican telenovela that concluded in June 2018.
‘The Five Juanas,’ therefore, is by no means new and unprecedented, and the Latin American audiences should be pretty familiar with the story. But now, with the involvement of Netflix, and by the grace of a strong cast and excellent production quality, the show is guaranteed a wider audience. The story is woven so that fate is all-pervasive; the characters have little scope to exercise free will. Destiny brings them together, and destiny decides most of the forward progression of the story.
And yet, the seamless dynamic between the cast ensemble keeps the show alive. Zuria Vega, Juanita Arias, Sofia Engberg, Oka Giner, and Renata Notni essay the central roles of the five Juanas, and their chemistry keeps the drama taut. The actors portray their characters with remarkable command, and they help to bring out the dramatic quotient of the material in full glory. The camera maintains a brooding outlook and focuses mainly on the characters’ expressions, which would remind you of ‘Mr. Robot.’
The dark and brooding palette of the drama also draws story arcs and themes from earlier popular telenovelas, like ‘La Reina del Sur’ and ‘Cable Girls.’ The story may be a bit predictable, especially for those who have come across the earlier Colombian telenovela or any of its two spinoffs. However, the creator kept the ambiance decidedly contemporary this time, and she updated the series to make it relevant for the streaming generation. Although entirely fictional, the reboot stands out in the crowd, thanks to the director’s distinct touch and the grace of the lead cast ensemble.
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