Netflix’s The Matchmaker: Is the Saudi Film Based on Real People?

Netflix’s ‘The Matchmaker’ is a Saudi mystery thriller film directed by Abdulmohsen Aldhabaan. It features Husam AlHarthi, Nour Alkhadra, Reem AlHabib, and others. ‘The Matchmaker’ revolves around a woman named Aliaa, who possesses a formidable arcane power and uses it to take revenge on her abusive husband. Years later, Tarek, a regular IT office worker, comes across her resort that promises to make his dreams come.

However, once Tarek starts noticing alarming things happening around the eerie resort, he realizes he may have walked into something he can never walk out of. With a plotline full of suspense and building tension, the psychological thriller movie incorporates mystical elements into a tale about violent female revenge. If you’re curious about the true origins of this story, here is everything you need to know about ‘The Matchmaker’ and its connection to real life.

The Matchmaker is a Work of Fiction

No, ‘The Matchmaker’ is not based on a true story. In the movie, countless men wander into a mysterious hotel in the middle of the desert that promises private weddings to beautiful women. This hotel inevitably leads to the men’s ultimate demise, wherein they are replaced by a shell of their past selves and confined forever to the hotel. Including such supernatural elements into the movie’s basic premise clearly distinguishes it as a work of fiction.

However, stories about haunted or sinister hotels have been moderately prevalent in cinematic media for ages. From 1972’s ‘Terror At Red Wolf Inn’ to 1980’s famed ‘The Shining,’ numerous movies before ‘The Matchmaker’ have utilized the detached, unfamiliar facet of hotels to tell thrilling horror stories. Moreover, several mysteries revolving around hotels can also be found in real life. In this aspect, by employing the “horror hotel” trope, ‘The Matchmaker’ inherently draws some inspiration from reality.

On the other hand, ‘The Matchmaker’ intentionally aims to pass a commentary on real life by primarily exploring themes of domestic violence, as it exists particularly towards women. In the film, two of the main characters, Aliaa and Salma, are both victims of domestic abuse. Their past traumas serve as the main motives behind their actions and influence the overarching plot accordingly.

According to WHO, more than 640 million women are victims of violence committed by their partners. In fact, most violence women face is at the hands of their husbands or partners. The film focuses on the pain and trauma that Aliaa experienced in her life and the subsequent scheme she employs to take revenge for it. Additionally, all the other women that work for her at the resort are also victims of abuse in some form or other.

Aliaa and her accomplices target potentially dangerous men to prevent further abuse towards other women. However, as in most revenge plots, her mission eventually turns ugly, threatening to become merciless slaughter. Inevitable doom aside, the female fantasy of enacting revenge on their abusers and shielding others from similar abuse is a concept deeply rooted in reality.

Inversely, the movie also dabbles in discussions about masculinity and its supposed characteristics through Tarek’s character. He is a very repressed, timid man who goes through life unnoticed. Furthermore, Tarek has a haltingly awkward relationship with his family, unable to connect with his daughter and form a bond with her. He often listens to podcasts or videos about men discussing gender roles and societal responsibilities through a masculine lens.

This orthodox social dichotomy between men and women presents a lot of similar complications for people in real life as well. All things considered, ‘The Matchmaker’ is not based on a true story. It pitches a familiar suspenseful tale that revolves around an isolated hotel and draws inspiration from real-life struggles for its themes. Nevertheless, the plot is unrelated to any real-life incident or people.

Read More: Where Was Netflix’s The Matchmaker Filmed?