The Handmaid’s Tale – A Review

I’ve been watching The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu, season two now. This show is very difficult to watch but riveting. I find myself cringing in disbelief many times throughout. If you haven’t read the book (I haven’t but I plan on it), or seen this very well-acted series, then I highly recommend it.

The story is set in a totalitarian society created by Gilead, where women are treated as property and have no rights. The wives of Gilead men have become sterile, so fertile women have been sought out, kidnapped and basically forced into sexual servitude in order to repopulate the world. This new world they have created is reminiscent of the Puritanical era.

A young woman, whose own child was taken from her and placed in the care of another family, is taken to be a handmaid. Her name is Offred, meaning ‘of Fred’ derived from her master’s name (Fred), known as her Commander. Her real name is June, but handmaids are not allowed to use their real names. Women are not allowed to read, write, drive, or have jobs, or money….among other things. The handmaids are raped in “ceremonies” in order to produce children, their sole purpose.

There are different classes of women. They are segregated by color of clothing, signifying social class. The Wives wear blue, Aunts (the women who train the handmaids) wear brown, Marthas (cooks and housekeepers) wear green, Handmaids wear red. Econowives, who are women married to lower class men and perform all domestic duties, wear various colors, and young unmarried girls wear (you guessed it) white.

This terrifying, near-future dystopian story makes you think about how our society could slowly change direction…. the wrong direction. Could women someday lose control of their own bodies? Today’s women are already on the verge of losing their right to birth control and abortion. I shudder at the thought of what comes next….

It’s difficult to watch many of the scenes, invoking anger, empathy, sympathy, and sorrow. Chock full of fear, violence, heartbreak, murder, politics, and religion — it’s a very haunting and chilling series, with great actors! Check out the trailer for season one below.