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The Handmaid’s Tale – a review

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This is a review of the first three episodes of MGM Televisions new drama, The Handmaid’s Tale.

!!MILD SPOILER ALERT!!

Big things can come from small beginnings. A single stone thrown can lead to an uprising. One persons political views can change the whole collective way of thinking. And looking back in history the roots of extremism can grow really strong before anyone notices its flower and makes sense of its true colors.
The same goes for the american society we see in Margaret Attwoods The Handmaid’s Tale.
In a very near future, US natality suddenly drops and desperation sets in, soon after someone kills the president and most of the government. A christian fundamentalist movement appears out of nowhere and promises to make America great again by taking away the peoples constitutional rights and introducing an old hierarchy, where women are at the very bottom.

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The serie follows Offred (Elisabeth Moss) who was captured by the secret police because she was married to a divorcee. Since all divorces where nullified by the new regime, she was now considered an adulteress and a criminal.
Since she was able to bear children she was captured alive and given to The Commander (Joseph Fiennes), a man of great political importance, to serve as a handmaiden, a surrogate mother. And thats where the story starts.

The tale jumps between the present where Offred spends her days doing errands and serving her purpose for the commander and his wife Serena Joy (Yvonne Strahovski), and the past, in which she lives with her own family and they witness the fall of the modern society with chaos, riots and waves of violence.

THE HANDMAID'S TALE -- "Offred" - Episode 101 - Offred, one the few fertile women known as Handmaids in the oppressive Republic of Gilead, struggles to survive as a reproductive surrogate for a powerful Commander and his resentful wife. (Photo by: Take Five/Hulu)
The first three episodes are directed by Reed Romano who worked att the HBO serie Vinyl, and more notably, shot the Beyoncé-video Lemonade. And the serie is created by Bruce Miller, who also produced The 100.
The Handmaidens Tale is a well-directed drama with some incredible shots. The scenography is also perfect, standing somewhere between clean purism and marbled bauhaus, everything lit in a natural sunlight. The conservative beliefs of the new world-order is even shown in actors dress codes. Handmaids wear red dresses and Jane Austin-esque hoods, the wives green, and the men are all dressed in black.

The story takes its time painting up the setting for Offreds tale, but it never gets boring. Its intriguing how a society can become this bizarre. But where other works of dystopian science fiction blames a third world war or the collapse of global economy,
The Handmaids Tale is all about the growth of conservative powers, where Man uses religion and gender-oppression as tools of power.

The Handmaid’s tale is a must-see for everyone who likes a compelling TV-show, but it takes some stomach being able to watch it. Its scary and dark, but so incredibly cool at the same time.

***

Review written by Kristian Didrik Laache.

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