Netflix’s highly controversial documentary about Queen Cleopatra has made its debut on Rotten Tomatoes, and the initial response is shockingly negative.
While criticism of TV shows and movies is not uncommon, this particular project has garnered an unprecedented level of vitriol.
The documentary drew attention from the start with its portrayal of the iconic Egyptian leader as a Black woman, despite historical records indicating her Macedonian Greek heritage. The series combines reenactments with expert interviews to present a fresh perspective on the last active ruler of the Ptolemaic dynasty.
Featuring notable names such as Adele James, Craig Russell, and Jada Pinkett Smith, who also served as an executive producer, the official synopsis on Netflix describes the documentary as an exploration of “the lives of prominent and iconic African Queens.”
However, it has faced accusations of “Blackwashing” history, and the criticism has now spilled over into review platforms like Rotten Tomatoes, where Queen Cleopatra has received a mere 10% on the critic rating.
Camilla Long of The Times commented, “It is patchy sub-Game of Thrones cosplay interwoven with academics you’ve never heard of.” Anne Brodie from What She Said added, “Re-enactments, mostly florid, are brought back to earth with excellent background provided by experts. It’s stunning how much is known about the Queen; hers was an extraordinary life, but much of what we know thanks to Hollywood is pure rot.”
Chris Joyce of Movies and Munchies expressed, “While the information is comprehensive, the presentation works against the scholarly authority by creating melodramatic sequences with cringey sequences that come across as fiction rather than fact.” While a 10% rating is disheartening for any director, the audience rating is even more damning.
After accumulating over 5,000 reviews, Queen Cleopatra currently sits at a dismal 2% from regular viewers. Despite being available on Netflix for less than a week, the documentary has already faced a barrage of negative reviews. Many individuals from Egypt and Greece were quick to share their opinions, and the overwhelming sentiment was overwhelmingly negative.
One viewer encapsulated the prevailing sentiment, stating, “I am Greek, and this piece of garbage is polluting our history. Useless random individuals sitting on the other side of the Atlantic without any fundamental knowledge Blackwashing everything in their path. Block them, sue them, revolt against them, revenge us.”
For those curious to form their own opinion, Queen Cleopatra is currently streaming on Netflix.
Watch the trailer below: