UPDATE: It’s worth noting that The Handmaid’s Tale Series has already strayed slightly from the book, with alternative endings and plot turns for a number of characters. This is not a bad thing, and as Margaret Atwood herself was present during production/filming, the changes stay true to the intent of the book and are not a “Hollywood dramatisation” for the sake of it. I suspect the changes are to allow for the series to be extended past one series and perhaps past the ending of the book.
If you’re anything like me you’re completely enthralled by what seems to be an oddly apt (given the current political climate) story. A totalitarian and theocratic state called The Republic of Gilead is facing environmental disasters and a plunging birthrate; ruled by a fundamentalist regime that treats women as objects of the state. The new show “The Handmaid’s Tale”, which I dare say will surely be a hit, dives deep into this state and the lives of its inhabitants, mostly a handmaid called Offred, the main protagonist who narrates the story.
In this future, The Republic of Gilead has replaced the United States. Dangerously low reproduction rates mean handmaids are assigned to bear children for elite couples that have trouble conceiving. I won’t give too much away since you may not have read the book (which btw is a really good read click here to check it out) or be up to date on the show but I’ll give you a quick synopsis.
Women able to conceive are assigned to elite couples to bear their children. As one of the few remaining fertile women, Offred is forced into sexual servitude to “the Commander”. Offred (which is not her name, Handmaids names consist of the word ‘Of’ followed by the name of their commander) has to have impersonal sex with the commander every month, while his wife is present, often holding her hand. This is a desperate attempt to repopulate a devastated world in a terrifying society in which anyone could be a spy for Gilead
As Offred, played by Elisabeth Moss, narrates the story of her restricted daily life with minimal privacy she frequently slips into flashbacks that allow us, the viewer, to understand and reconstruct the events leading up to the first episode. She navigates this all for one goal, to survive and find the daughter that was taken from her.
To avoid spoilers I’ll go into further detail as the episodes come out, as well as offering reviews and analysis alongside it, but I hope you’re as excited as I am to see a new TV adaptation of Handmaid’s Tale.
If you’re already as hooked as I am, it may be worth checking out the original film also called The Handmaids Tale Here. Originally created in the early 90’s, it was also based on the Atwood Novel, but do expect dated visuals.
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