Right on time

The Handmaid’s Tale is a very well made adaptation that captures the core of the novel, thanks to Elisabeth Moss’s strong performance as the lead Offred and Alexis Bledel as Ofglen. Though it’s uncomfortable to watch it is just what we need in this unstable political climate.

In 1985 Margaret Atwood wrote what would become a dystopian classic. And when the trailer for the TV adaption of the novel released Trump supporters got very angry, to say the least, believing that it was a direct commentary of the new administration. People have been keen to compare the series to the White House.

In the near future the world has become a totalitarian theocratic dictatorship,  America is known as the Republic of Gilead after a hostile takeover by a fundamentalist christian movement. Pollution and STD’s has made the majority of the population sterile. Enter the handmaids. The few women that can still have children are forced to become breeding stock for the powerful men. In the series we follow Offred (Of-fred, a new name she has been given), played by Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss, in her new role as a handmaid as she is remembering her old free life.

They manage to create a mood so nightmarish that it feels like you’re watching a horror film. The feeling of claustrophobia is so strong that you almost want to shut off your TV. It’s not only the story (that women are not in control of their own bodies or minds, they aren’t even allowed to read and the chilling breeding ceremony the handmaid’s have to go through) but the way it is shot. In a scene where a man is hit to death you can’t help but admire the astonishing cinematography; you are disgusted and in awe at the same time.

The handmaid’s become an embodiment of the scarlet letter that’s used in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic novel. The environment around them is full of earthly colours and mellow colour schemes and the women who are supposed to be invisible screams at you without saying a word. The fictional handmaid’s have inspired women of the real world. Some protesters used the blood red costume of the handmaid’s in protest against current amendments of abortion laws in Texas. Hopefully the politicians were up to speed with their reading.

The show is depressing, horrific and claustrophobic. It’s bloody, horrible and scary. Why would you want to watch something so depressing? It makes you think about the world you live in and the way it is heading. It forces you to think about rape culture and current power structures. They show you one version of the future without you having to live it- and the show couldn’t have come at a more perfect time.

Featured image: Hulu.

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