How do you know something is so bizarre but so much possible? How do you know that a piece of literature is so aptly relevant even after decades of it being published for the first time? How do you know you live in a world of fear, subjugation and surrounding dystopia? All of this by watching the latest rendition of The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.
Published in 1985, the book has been in continuous publication since its first appearance, has been a source material for a feature film and for several stage and audio adaptations. The latest entry to this is a show of the same name starring Elizabeth Ross (What an actress!). The series follows OFFRED, which by the way is not her real name. She belongs to Commander Fred and hence she is OF-FRED to own and use as a lifeless piece of meat to impregnate and bear children for his family. In the presence of his wife who holds Offred in her lap while he does the deed. If that does not send chills down your spine, what would!? Streaming on Hulu, the show is going to shake you in more than one way. Not because of how beautifully it’s shot, not because it has great actors working their best to liven up the super screwed characters but because it seems so so relevant. How all of it is so so POSSIBLE.
For the longest time, people have taken up this source material for its themes of female subjugation, same-sex relationships, the status of women and how they are the biggest enemies of their own kind and how any kind of extreme governance is a slap on the evolution of human race. And the show does justice to it all. There are extreme closeups of Elizabeth which would really take you into her headspace. We see brutality being a way of oppression if one does not comply with the totalitarian view of the Republic.
We follow two storylines around Offred- of her past and present life. How she is separated from her daughter and husband and how she hopes to be free one day to meet her daughter again. There are flashbacks that will make you weepy, anxious and just unsettled at times. The one thing that they don’t touch upon is racism as strongly as it was featured in the book. But I do get the logic behind it, it is not about a race- it’s about how everyone is the same in the eyes of ones who suppress.
Eyes remind me- The Republic of Gilead can possibly spy on every move. Creepy? Well, think of your phone’s microphones listening to you at all times. #MindFuck
And like any other dystopian setup, there is an uprising. That is something that you would see more of probably in the coming episodes. I forget that I have read the book so I know exactly what happens with the story. They might change some of it- they might extend some of it- because when has a successful show (if it is) stopped after just one season!
But there’s definitely a lot to be seen and more importantly felt! It’s a story to watch out for, it’s a story to internalise. Do check it out if you don’t want something slightly heavy and just plain creepy!
Hits: Acting, set up, source material, gripping
Misses- Maybe the pace, not a light show which you would watch after a tough day
BUT DO WATCH! Toodles!