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Saudi's Freedom Test Drive

Saudi's Freedom Test Drive provides a balanced and insightful look into the ambitious plans of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman for economic and social reform in Saudi Arabia.

Keywords: Saudi Arabia, social reform, economic reform, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, women's rights, driving ban, Jamal Khashoggi, documentary. Three words: transformative, controversial, insightful


"Saudi's Freedom Test Drive" is a compelling documentary by director Isobel Yeung. Released in 2018, the film explores the ambitious plans of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman for economic and social reform in Saudi Arabia. With a focus on the historical lifting of the driving ban for women, the film provides a unique lens into a society on the cusp of change.


The documentary provides a balanced narrative, highlighting both the progressive changes and the persisting challenges in Saudi Arabia. It covers the new rights granted to Saudi women, such as the right to drive and attend football matches, while also delving into the darker side of the reform process, including the detention of activists and the horrific murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

More Film Analysis


"Saudi's Freedom Test Drive" adopts a balanced and insightful approach, combining in-depth interviews, on-the-ground reportage, and thoughtful analysis. The film's strength lies in its ability to present the complexity of the Saudi society and the multi-faceted nature of its reforms.

Historical and Factual Context

The documentary provides historical context about the conservative nature of Saudi society, the driving ban on women, and the recent push for reforms. Also included is the factual context of Jamal Khashoggi's murder, providing viewers with a comprehensive understanding of the current Saudi landscape.

Key themes in the film

  • Social and economic reform in Saudi Arabia
  • Women's rights and empowerment
  • Political activism and repression
  • The power and influence of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman

Film Comparisons

"Saudi's Freedom Test Drive" can be compared to other documentaries that explore societal transformations in the Middle East, such as "Saudi Women's Driving School" and "The Price of Progress". However, its balanced perspective sets it apart, providing a nuanced view of the changes in Saudi Arabia.

Noteworthy Moments

One of the most impactful moments in the documentary is when Saudi women drive for the first time, symbolizing a significant step towards gender equality. The film also highlights the chilling aftermath of Jamal Khashoggi's murder, shedding light on the darker aspects of the reform process.


Audiences and critics have praised "Saudi's Freedom Test Drive" for its balanced perspective and in-depth exploration of Saudi Arabia's evolving society. As one reviewer noted, "This documentary provides a rare glimpse into a country undergoing significant change, presenting both its accomplishments and its challenges."


"Saudi's Freedom Test Drive" offers an insightful look into the transformation in Saudi Arabia, making it a must-watch for anyone interested in Middle Eastern affairs, women's rights, or societal change. Despite its controversial subject matter, the film succeeds in providing a balanced and thought-provoking perspective.

More film information:


  • Genre: Documentary



  • Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman: The de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, driving the country's reform agenda
  • Saudi women activists: Activists advocating for women's rights and societal reform
  • Jamal Khashoggi: Saudi journalist murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul



  • Riyadh: The capital of Saudi Arabia
  • Jeddah: A major Saudi city known for its diverse culture

Key Questions Raised by the Film:

  1. What is the impact of the reforms on Saudi society?
  2. Are the reforms genuine or merely a facade for the international community?
  3. What is the future of women's rights in Saudi Arabia?

I wonder what the film would be in another art form

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  1. If this film was a famous book, it would be "The Handmaid's Tale" for its exploration of women's rights in a restrictive society.
  2. If this film was a famous song, it would be "Imagine" by John Lennon for its vision of a world changing for the better.
  3. If this film was a famous piece of art, it would be Picasso's "Guernica" for its depiction of the chaos and conflict inherent in societal change.
  4. If this film was a famous celebrity, it would be Malala Yousafzai for her advocacy of women's rights and education.
  5. If this film was a color, it would be purple for its representation of women's rights and dignity.
  6. If this film was a music style, it would be a powerful symphony, representing the complexity and dynamism of Saudi society.