The Handmaid’s Tale (2017) Review

The Handmaid’s Tale is an amazing adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s novel of the same name. Furthermore, the show is visually pleasing and the plot delivers the message behind the source material perfectly. Elisabeth Moss’s performance makes The Handmaid’s Tale worth your time.

4/5

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Genres: | |

Writers: Bruce Miller

Stars: Elisabeth Moss, Yvonne Strahovski, Joseph Fiennes

Duration: 52min/episode

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Review score 4 out of 5.

Directing: The show is created by Bruce Miller. He has done a great job when it comes to directing the show. The directing of the show is very good.

Screenplay: The screenplay is very good. The show captures the feel of the original novel perfectly. It is not too distant from it. The dialogues, storyline, and sub-plots are all well-written.

Cinematography: The cinematography is very good. The cinematographers have utilized various techniques to bring this dystopian world to life.

Acting: The acting is very good. In Particular, Elizabeth Moss portrays the central character very well. The other cast members have also done an amazing job.

Visual Effects | Editing: The editing is good. The show has a green-red color palette which makes it visually attractive and sells the idea of this dystopian future.

Sound | Music: The music of the show is good. It does not feel out of place and enhances some scenes. The show uses music to alleviate the emotional or suspenseful moments.

Production Design: You simply can not compromise on the production design to create a show like this. Hence, the show has a good production design. It teleports the viewers into this sad and miserable future.


Plot Summary

The Handmaid’s Tale is a dystopian story set in Gilead, a totalitarian state which was formerly the United States. Gilead is governed by a fundamentalist regime that views women as state property. The state is plagued by natural calamities in addition to a low birth rate.

In a desperate attempt to repopulate the globe, the few remaining fertile women are forced into sexual submission.

Offred, one of these women, is desperate to escape the horrible world she lives in and locate her kidnapped daughter. She must find a way to escape this patriarchal society.


General Review

The first two seasons of The Handmaid’s Tale are just brilliant. They do an amazing job of establishing the world and simultaneously introducing us to the characters. The show was way ahead of its time when it was released on Hulu.

The show has some amazing production value and beautiful visuals. However, the visuals are not for everyone. The show uses some dull and muted colors throughout which may be off-putting for some people.

However, that is not too much of a deal-breaker, especially not for me. The show looks ugly because it needs to look ugly. The show has its own aesthetics and beauty.

During the first two seasons, the pacing of the show is well-balanced. However, things do seem a little boring and monotonous at the start of the show’s fourth season.

The third season is famous for its close-up shots which are a bit annoying.

Season four of The Handmaid’s Tale is quite slower-paced than usual. The show is, in fact, a slow burn type of show but there is a line between slow burn and dragging and unfortunately, the fourth season did feel like a bit of drag but it got back on track towards the end.

Overall, the show is very good. The storyline and the performance of Elizabeth Olson will keep you hooked to the show. It is unique and it is basically a social commentary, but the show never tries to shove its opinion down your throat.

The Handmaid’s Tale is not an easy watch, but you will get used to it by the end of the first season.

Now let us discuss the amazing aspects of this show in-depth.


Elizabeth Olson

Elizabeth-Olson

Elizabeth Olson is a great actress. We have seen her in some movies and TV shows in which she has given a great performance.

The Handmaid’s Tale would be incomplete by her expressive face and brilliant acting. She portrays Offred (AKA June Osborne), a concubine assigned to Fred. Fate does not seem to be on her side.

Elizabeth Olsen portrays this unfortunate character perfectly. Even when there are minimal dialogues, her expressive face conveys all the emotions going through that scene. It is hard to imagine anyone in this role except her.

She has amazing chemistry with the other cast members, especially during the romantic scenes. Elizabeth Olson will leave a long-lasting impact on you with her powerful performance.


The Cinematography and Production Design

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The show’s cinematography is beautiful in a distorted, rotten, and vile sense. The show actually feels real.

A red and green color palette is used throughout the show which makes it look depressing but that is the beauty of it.

The cinematographer Colin Watkinson has described it as an oppressive color scheme. It is unique and it stands out. The beautiful shots of  Gilead will please your eyes.

Other than the beautiful cinematography, the show also has an insane production value. The whole setting of Gilead looks real. It feels approachable.

There are no fancy flying cars or anything but this futuristic timeline is vicious and unforgiving. It is not hard to imagine a world where all this might actually happen. Due to the fantastic production design, you will be completely immersed in this fictional world


The Romance

the-romance

The show may have a drama thriller story but it has some amazing romantic moments as well. In addition to all the intense scenes and situations, there are many scenes of romance that make the characters more human.

The element of romance is not just there for the sake of it. Pleasure is banned in this depressing world. So romance is another act of rebellion among other things.

All in all the romantic scenes have been filmed very well and they do not feel awkward. The scenes are intimate and do add value to the story.


Conclusion

The Handmaid’s Tale is a one of a kind thriller drama show. It may be a little difficult to watch due to the depressing nature of the story and slow pacing but it is all worth it. The show will transport you to a future that does not feel too far off.

The show is a brilliant adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s novel. It may not be completely faithful to the source material but it does feel like a part of that world.

In short, If you are looking for something fresh and unique to watch then add this show to your watchlist. With four seasons in total and a new season on the way, it will keep you entertained for quite some time.


Recommendations

If you have already seen all the episodes of this show then here are a few recommendations of similar shows that will keep you entertained.

  • 3%
  • The Man In The High Castle
  • Leila
  • Black Mirror
  • Orphan Black
  • Alias Grace
  • Altered Carbon
  • The Strain