The Handmaid’s Tale is a thought-provoking and powerful dystopian TV series that premiered in 2017, based on the novel of the same name by Canadian author Margaret Atwood. The show takes place in Gilead, a totalitarian society that has taken over what was once the United States of America. The story follows Offred, a handmaid forced to bear children for her male commander, as she navigates Gilead’s oppressive and dangerous world.
The Oppressive World of Gilead
The world of Gilead is one of extreme oppression and inequality, where women have been stripped of their rights and forced into strict social classes based on their perceived usefulness to society. The handmaids are the few remaining fertile women assigned to high-ranking men as surrogates for their wives, who cannot conceive. The handmaids’ sole purpose is to bear children and nothing else, making them little more than breeding machines.
The Struggle of Offred
The series’s protagonist, Offred, is played by Elizabeth Moss, who delivers a powerful, haunting performance. Offred is a strong-willed, determined woman struggling to survive in a world that has taken everything from her. Throughout the series, she constantly fights to regain her freedom and reunite with her daughter, who was taken from her when Gilead came to power.
Visual Symbolism and Cinematography
One of the most striking aspects of The Handmaid’s Tale is its use of cinematography and visual symbolism. The series is shot in a way that emphasizes the oppressive nature of Gilead, with dark colors and a foreboding atmosphere. The handmaids are always dressed in red, representing their fertility and status as objects of desire for their male commanders. The show also uses religious imagery, with Gilead being portrayed as a fundamentalist Christian society that uses the Bible to justify its oppressive policies.
The cinematography of The Handmaid’s Tale is stunning and captures the mood of the story perfectly. The show’s cinematographer, Colin Watkinson, has received critical acclaim for his work on the series. Watkinson’s use of lighting and framing creates a dark and ominous atmosphere that perfectly captures the oppressive world of Gilead.
Critical Acclaim and Controversy
The Handmaid’s Tale has been praised for its powerful storytelling, nuanced characters, and thought-provoking themes. The show has also sparked meaningful conversations about reproductive rights, gender equality, and the dangers of authoritarianism. In a time when these issues are more relevant than ever, The Handmaid’s Tale serves as a wake-up call to those who may take their rights and freedoms for granted.
Despite its critical acclaim and popularity, The Handmaid’s Tale has also been criticized for its graphic violence and disturbing imagery. Some viewers have found the show too intense and triggering, while others have argued that it glorifies the oppression it seeks to condemn. These criticisms are valid, and it is essential to remember that the show may not be suitable for all viewers.
In conclusion, The Handmaid’s Tale is a must-watch for anyone who wants to understand the impact of gender inequality, reproductive rights, and the rise of extremist ideologies. The show’s powerful storytelling, nuanced characters, and stunning cinematography make it a standout series. While it may not be for everyone, The Handmaid’s Tale is an important reminder of the dangers of authoritarianism and the importance of protecting our rights and freedoms.