The Handmaid’s Tale
Hulu, MGM, White Oak Pictures, The Littlefield Company, Daniel Wilson Productions
“The Handmaid’s Tale” beautifully adapts and transforms Margaret Atwood’s dystopian vision of a fascist, misogynist future. Following the Second American Civil War, waning fertility leads to the government of Gilead—the future USA—forcing the few remaining fertile women to become “handmaids” who will act as surrogates to its upper classes. Elisabeth Moss delivers an amazing and nuanced performance as one such handmaid, Offred, trained by the looming, intimidating presence of Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd) to deliver a child to a high-ranking government official (Joseph Fiennes) and his wife (Yvonne Strahovski). Visually stunning as it veers from dark interiors to washed-out exteriors that are each as lifeless and threatening as the other, the show’s script similarly captures the suffocating, controlled nature of Gilead, strategically restricting its viewers’ vision as much as its handmaids’ bonnets limit their own. Crackling with political relevance and vibrancy, the series responds as much to the attacks on women’s rights and agency of recent years as to those of the 1980s that inspired the original novel, playing out the political ramifications of the regulation of women’s bodies and reproductive rights. Equal parts drama, horror, and science fiction and paced with deliberate yet eerie precision, “The Handmaid’s Tale” is captivating, harrowing, and cautionary. As one of the very best narratives of 2017, “The Handmaid’s Tale” is honored with a Peabody.
PRIMARY PRODUCTION CREDITS
Executive Producers: Bruce Miller, Warren Littlefield, Elisabeth Moss, Daniel Wilson, Fran Sears. Producers: Joe Boccia, Dorothy Fortenberry. Co-Executive Producers: Mike Barker, Sheila Hockin, Eric Tuchman, Kira Snyder, Yahlin Chang, Frank Siracusa, John Weber. Writer: Bruce Miller. Directors: Mike Barker, Kari Skogland, Jeremy Podeswa, Daina Reid. Talent: Elisabeth Moss, Joseph Fiennes, Yvonne Strahovski, Ann Dowd, Samira Wiley, Max Minghella, Alexis Bledel, Madeline Brewer, O-T Fagbenle, Amanda Brugel.