How many times have you watched the news and questioned a movement for women’s right by saying ‘we don’t need this in the 21st century’? If you ever have, this series will be like a slap in the face. It is remarkable how The Handmaid’s Tale will make you see all the little signs of ever existing toxic patriarchy that may very well bring Margaret Atwood’s fictional world into life. Some might even argue that forms of this totalitarian society already exists in some part of the world.
In this adaptation of the novel, fertility rates drop drastically due to toxic environment by climate change which is accelerated by promiscuity and morning pills. As a result, few remaining fertile women who are named Handmaids are enslaved, raped and mutilated. Educated and working women; contemporary women who could be any one of us are stripped off of all their rights and are taught to be submissive through electric shocks and slut-shaming. This so-called dystopian society chills you to the bone with its political and social relevance. There are moments in the series that will strike a chord with every woman with flashbacks of catcalls that you may have experienced or the passing comment about your dress that you may have overheard. And this is what makes the show horrifyingly amazing.
The series can also be referred as a slow motion horror story as it unveils all the hidden horrors of our society. The most brilliant part is how aptly it demonstrates patriarchy and how it shows that most men are the victims of this power imbalance too! Another brilliance that shouldn’t go unnoticed is the color coding; the wives are dressed in blue and are portrayed as affectionate and admirable but not desirable and the handmaids are dressed in scarlet red: desirable but degraded and belittled.
Moss: The perfect rebel
While we are talking about the series, it would be foolish not to talk about the protagonist. The Handmaid’s Tale stars Elisabeth Moss as the main character as well as the narrator of the story and starting from the second season, Moss is now the executive producer of the show as well. She also managed to bag a well-deserved Golden Globe Award for Best Actress and Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress as Offred in The Handmaid’s Tale. Her performance is equally touching and fierce; Elisabeth Moss as Offred, a victim is heartbreaking and at the same time, Elisabeth Moss as June, who still dreams of freedom and constantly tries to rebel and flee is empowering! Nolite te Bastardes Carborundorum!
If you’re stopping yourself from watching this series because you want to read the book first, or if you have already read the book and do not want to watch the series and risk being disappointed, let me tell you why you don’t have to. Atwood wrote the book in 1985 reflecting on the society she saw then; the series has updated into today’s world which means it is more realistic and relatable to present day society. In addition, Atwood herself is very involved in the making of the series, so much that she even made an appearance on the first episode of the first season as one of the Aunts. Since the first season pretty much covered the entire book, she is more involved now than ever as the consulting producer in the second season which will dive into unchartered territory.
Starring : Elisabeth Moss, Joseph Fiennes, Yvonne Strahovski
Based on: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Created by: Bruce Miller
No of seasons: 2
No of Episodes: 16
IMBD Rating: 8.6/10
Release Date: April 26, 2017 – present