The Handmaid's Tale
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Top Customer Reviews
A quick overview of the story: Offred is a Handmaid in a futuristic, dystopian society known as Gilead. The birthrate in Gilead is very low due to severe toxic pollution, and so the remaining fertile women are selected to be Handmaids whose sole purpose is to become pregnant by the upper class men (called Commanders). As soon as they provide their Commander with a child, they are packed off to another household to do it all again. If they are ever unable to bear more children, they will more than likely be labeled "Unwomen" and shipped away to a work colony to die. Handmaids are not allowed to read, and can only leave the house with permission. The book consists mostly of Offred's thoughts about her former life and her current position. There are hints of a resistance movement, but no one in this world can ever be sure that anyone else is trustworthy. Offred does not know what is real, or what is safe, and lives in constant fear. The regime has made it illegal for a man to be termed infertile, so if a Handmaid has no children, it is blamed on her without question. Offred's Commander is obviously incapable of fathering children, and she faces relocation to the colonies if she does not conceive. As her time runs out, the suspense builds to a crescendo of urgency and terror.
The film does not capture the full horror of the world Offred, the story's main character, lives in.Read more ›
The actors in The Handmaid's Tale are a very good bunch. Natasha Richardson as Kate/Offred turned in a stunning performance, as did Faye Dunaway and Robert Duvall as Serena Joy and the Commander. Aidan Quinn was excellent as Nick, and I loved Elizabeth McGovern's scheming, wily Moira. Victoria Tennant gave me the chills in her role of Aunt Lydia, and the role of Ofglen, though small, was wonderfully handled by Blanche Baker.
All in all, The Handmaid's Tale is a good movie. My only gripe with the DVD is that it didn't have any extras apart from the trailer, but the film itself is definitely worth watching.
The society depicted in The Handmaid's Tale, DVD and novel, is a nightmare: everyone is watched by the Eyes, ,women are strictly controlled. They are forbidden to have jobs. They may have no money of their own. They are irrevocably assigned to classes.. There are, at the top, the chaste, but morally superior, Wives, almost all of whom have been rendered infertile by the inevitable nuclear war. At the bottom are the housekeepers, or Marthas, who are non-entities. In the middle are the Handmaids of the title, who are fertile, but tightly controlled.
Handmaids are forced to have sex with the Commanders, the husbands of the Wives. During this sex, the Wives are intimately present to take in any "love" their Commanders have to give.
The Handmaids are trained to remain unattached to the Commanders. They are prohibited from using makeup or doing anything to make themselves attractive. Handmaids are forced to turn their offspring over to the Wives. And Handmaids are never taught to read. They are left illiterate.
Kate is a Handmaid who, despite her training (read brainwashing), recalls her past, her loving husband, and her adored daughter. She tells with sparkling, and terrifying clarity, how the society came to be the way it is.Read more ›
Fay Dunaway plays the scheming wife behind The Commander (Robert Duvall). Natasha Richardson takes the role of Kate, or "offred" as she is called in her position as human brood mare. The cover of this DVD gives a hint of what's inside. Richardson has an unusual face, with equal parts strength and fragility in it. It makes her unique - not "pretty", but beautiful in a way all her own. The cover picture has airbrushed Richardson's charm into a standard, Barbie-doll look, and lost everything in that face that made it real. That's kind of what they did to Atwood's book, too. They jammed it into the conventional mold with a happy ending (or happy enough). That Procrustean fit required a fair bit of trimming - as with Richardson's face on the cover, they discarded everything about the book that made it so memorable.
If you haven't read the book, it's a fair movie. If you have read it, don't get your hopes up.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I read The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood back around the time this movie came out. It’s a scary and troubling piece of literature that seems like the scenario could... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Carol T.
Why isn't this available in mass distribution on DVD?!? This is an important piece of not only literature, but also film. Read morePublished 4 months ago by a video maven
This was a good movie, primarily because I read the book first. The movie loses a bit of the meaning and plot points. Many of the reviews focus on the aspect of reproduction. Read morePublished 14 months ago by KarenS
Such a thoughtful look at a difference in society. People can be driven to scary low expectations. So Dystopian.Published 14 months ago by abhaille
Love this movie. Scary how close to real life today, especially since it is based on a book written a long time ago.Published 15 months ago by Suzanne Metaxas
This is probably one of the worst movies I've ever seen. Skip the movie and read the book.
The only saving grace is that the story, based off an excellent Margaret... Read more
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