Thanks to generations of brave and hardworking women, we have achieved rights and privileges that were once upon a time, a dream. But that does not mean that the fight is over.
The Handmaid’s Tale (based on the books by Margaret Atwood) premiered on Hulu back in 2017. In a world not too distant from ours, climate change and the low numbers of births opened the door to a second Civil War. When the dust settles, the United States as it existed is a thing of the past. The Republic of Gilead, a totalitarian regime, is now in control. The once archaic gender roles of the past are now the law of the land.
The women who are still able carry and bear children are slaves. Among them is Offred (Elisabeth Moss). She is given to a childless couple, Commander and Mrs. Waterford (Joseph Fiennes and Yvonne Strahovski) and has one job: give them a child. Offred’s only form of survival is to hang onto the past and remember the life, the name, and the family she had before everything changed.
Though I could not get into the book, I am part way though the first season and thoroughly hooked. What makes this story palpable and scary is not a dystopian future that is impossible to imagine as reality. Given our present predicament, it wouldn’t take much for this work of fiction to become something more.
It is for me, a reminder that in some countries (Saudia Arabia, for one), the daily experiences of women are not too far off from the women in this book. It is also a throwback to a not so far away time when we had to fight for even the most basic of rights.
If nothing else, it is stark reminder that our democracy and freedoms are not guaranteed. We must continue to do everything we can to ensure that they are protected.
Do I recommend it? Absolutely.
The Handmaid’s Tale is available for streaming on Hulu.
Among children’s literature, the narrative of young people escaping from an adult with not so good intentions is a common one. The question is, does the specific narrative stand out or is it just simply forgettable?
In the 1995 television movie, Escape to Witch Mountain (a reboot of the 1975 movie of the same name), Anna and Danny (Elisabeth Moss and Erik von Detten) are an orphaned brother and sister duo with with psychic powers. When millionaire Edward Bolt (Robert Vaughn) take the children in, he appears to be the father they need. But Edward has other reasons for bringing Anna and Danny into his home, none of which are virtuous.
I think one’s perspective on this TV movie depends on one’s age. If the audience member is the same age of the characters, they might enjoy it. If the audience member is not of the same age of the characters, they might think that the story is a little too simplistic and the characters predictable.
When it comes to gangster films, female characters usually fall into one of two categories. If they are any sort of prominence within the narrative, they usually fall within the romantic or familial label: wife/girlfriend/mistress or the sister/mother/ daughter. If they are not prominent within the narrative, they are a nameless and faceless background character.
The new movie, The Kitchen attempts to change that. Based on the comic book of the same name, the film is set in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of New York City in 1978. The Irish mob, known as the Westies, unofficially rules the neighborhood. When three of their members are sent to jail, their wives take their places within the mob organization.
Kathy Brennan (Melissa McCarthy) is a devoted wife and mother. Ruby O’Carroll (Tiffany Haddish) is treated like an outsider because she is an African-American woman married to a Caucasian man. Claire Walsh (Elisabeth Moss) has been knocked around by her husband more times than she can count.
Not only must the women contend with opposition from the men, they must also content with the fact they are breaking the law.
What I hate is that this movie has so much potential going for it. It has a great cast and a narrative, that if written well, could be compelling. Instead, this movie falls flat on it’s face.