Harsh Realm – The bleak historical kaleidoscope of “The Handmaid’s Tale”


I always discover new show or movies with The New Yorker’s reviews. Although it took me 6 months to get to watch the Handmaid’s Tale because of the gloomy & dystopian nature of the show, I couldn’t help but think about the review while watching it:

its grotesque timeliness […] the Trumpian parallels are hard to miss. It’s a story about a government that exploits fear of Islamic terrorists to crush dissent, then blots out women’s reproductive rights. It’s about fake news, political trauma, the abnormal normalized. There’s a scene that so directly evoked the Women’s March […]

What stuck with me the most was the description of Elisabeth Moss’ performance and her internal monologue which supports the entire show as it is

told in the voice of a forced birth surrogate, or Handmaid, whom we know only as Offred (for “Of-Fred,” the name of the Commander who owns her); she’s stuck inside her head, desperately making dark jokes to stay sane.

That feeling of being in her head while watching the show was reinforced as I watched the entire season 1 during 2 7-hour flights to Tokyo and I couldn’t help but think that people around me who could see the screen would have no idea about what’s happening without Offred’s voice over, describing her raging emotions while her face remains still.

A lot of similitude with the book 1984 and any story of survivors of oppressive regimes.