I’ve been looking forward to this series since it was announced and my excitement kept growing with each new cast announcement. I read The Handmaid’s Tale for the first time a few years ago and was deeply unsettled by it. But I tend to like things that are upsetting or troubling or uncomfortable. Although dystopian, it just seemed a little too plausible, and that’s probably why it’s so gripping. And I would also argue that it’s a very important story to tell and experience in our current topsy-turvy times.
The first three episodes are out on Hulu, and I think it captures the essence of the book so very well. The coloring of the show takes on a darker edge, but certain colors still pop — especially the reds of the Handmaiden’s dresses, the green of Serena Joy’s dress, and when the sun is out, it’s almost blindingly bright. It’s obtrusive and wrong; like the sun shouldn’t be shining in a world that has come to this, in a world that uses women as servants and brood mares.
I wondered how certain scenes would be brought forth, particularly the ceremony and the birth. And hoo boy, it’s super freakin’ uncomfortable. Since it’s an adaptation, they’ve taken some liberties with certain characters and events (from what I remember of the story), but I think any changes really add to the horror of this world. Particularly, when you get to episode 3. Jeezus. Alexis Bledel’s character doesn’t even have any lines in the episode, but her performance was gut-wrenching. There’s one scene, in particular, that is shot in such a clever way to illustrate what’s happening that really added to the full, horrible effect of it. Hint: the van scene… I (not-so-jokingly) texted a couple people that I was totally traumatized after that episode.
I am apprehensively looking forward to the rest of the series. I say apprehensive because I’m scared of what else might happen to these characters, but really excited to see some scenes come to life. The night out, especially. You’ll know it when it happens.
Go check out the first three episodes on Hulu. It’s worth it.