Imagine a film that lasted for thirty four hours. Effectively, that is what I have just sat through. My viewing was completed last night.
Some of you may recall that last year I read Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale", quickly followed by its sequel, "The Testaments". I was aware that a TV version of "The Handmaid's Tale" had been made and I was keen to watch it . As it happened, in mid-January our daughter gave us a free connection to her Amazon Prime account and upon investigation I found the show listed there.
I put the sidelight on, turned off the main light and settled down on our Lay-Z-Boy sofa with a glass of red wine. There were just ten episodes to watch and they stuck fairly closely to the novel itself. Little did I realise that when I first set out watching "The Handmaid's Tale" there would be more than one series of it. In fact there were two more series as the show springboarded into newly imagined territory but still very much within the spirit of the original dystopian novel.
Hence, I found myself glued to the box in the corner for thirty four hours and not the ten sessions I had been anticipating. I should emphasise here that I did not watch all thirty six episodes in one continuous shift. I saw them over a period of a month.
I have no complaints. It was a wonderful show in my humble opinion. I was gripped throughout. The cinematography was excellent as was the occasional and often quirky incidental music. There were many shots from above - undoubtedly assisted by drones and the colouration often veered appropriately towards soulless monochrome. However, there was always the blood red of the handmaids' capes.
It was another incredible example of what a bunch of human beings can do when they work together towards a shared artistic goal - all pulling in the same direction. Actors and actresses, camera and sound people, scriptwriters, production staff, directors and costumiers. Really brilliant.
My hat goes off to Elisabeth Moss who played the central character Offred, later Ofjoseph but really June Osborne. She was on screen for the majority of those thirty four hours - enduring torment, painful flashbacks, moments of delight, rape, childbirth on her own, all-consuming fear and the strength to fight back against the oppressive pseudo-religious state of Gilead. What a tour-de-force this was. More than acting it was as if Elisabeth Moss was really living the role.
Yes. It certainly was a marathon but I shall not forget this viewing experience in a long time. I have a few lingering questions and reservations but it would be churlish to share them. Maybe "The Handmaid's Tale" would not be everybody's cup of tea but for me it was special and I will kind of miss my late night viewing habit - occasionally accompanied by blood red wine.
There are a few series that we have enjoyed and have stuck in our memories. We loved this series and the other three that I also enjoyed were 'The Sopranos' and 'Boardwalk Empire' and of course 'Breaking Bad'ReplyDelete
Never seen any of them Briony so thanks for the suggestions.Delete
I have read the first book. I saw the original made for TV mini-series long ago. I do not think I can go back to that horrific tale.ReplyDelete
The end of the third series was pretty positive and uplifting. Gilead was about to crumble. Yaaay!Delete
I've read the book, but like Mary I have very little desire to revisit Gilead. It's horrifying. By the way, I loved Elizabeth Moss in Mad Men.ReplyDelete
Like CCC, I really enjoyed Breaking Bad. The writing and acting were second to none. I'll re-watch it one of these days.
Okay- I must consider "Breaking Bad". Does it involve killing? I am not fond of that.Delete
There's a lot of shocking violence, I must admit. Not normally my cup of tea, and I hesitated to start BB, but it was so good despite the violence!Delete
Okay I may try that. Our Ian has been watching "Mad Men". Have you seen that?Delete
I haven't seen the series but the book was excellent and horrific. I'll have to take a look.ReplyDelete
If you like sci-fi, The Expanse is excellent. I'm reading all the books right now but the series is very well done on Amazon Prime.
Okay - another possible viewing idea. Thanks.Delete
I had (have?) both that and The Blind Assassin on my bookshelves but could not get into the latter at all and having read the synopsis didn't even try The Handmaid's Tale. Absolutely not up my reading street.ReplyDelete
Best stick with those racy novels Graham.Delete
We've also watched the whole thing and enjoyed it. I read the book after I saw the show, so it was interesting to see how closely the TV version hewed to the novel. (Drawback: While reading, in my mind's eye, I saw everything as it had been shown on TV.) The fourth season is supposed to come this year, and there's a fifth season in production as well!ReplyDelete
Two more series? Oh no! I thought I was through with "The Handmaid's Tale". It's like finishing a marathon and discovering you have got to run another one! AAAARGH!Delete
I watched the whole thing week by week when it went out and was spellbound. I thoroughly enjoyed it and, as you say, Elizabeth Moss was amazing.ReplyDelete
Clearly you have excellent taste ADDY!Delete
34 hours? How lazy! Are you sure you're not still exhausted from that coronavirus jab?ReplyDelete
Maybe I should have been playing a bassoon instead!Delete
It is definitely not my cup of tea, but that does not diminuish my respect for the talent, skill and dedication of all those who efforts made it possible.ReplyDelete
I first saw Elisabeth Moss in Mad Men - a series I enjoyed greatly when it first came out, but somehow lost interest in after the second series.
Having seen 36 episodes Steve Reed tells me there are two more series coming up! I have never seen "Mad Men" but my son is currently watching it.Delete
I abhorred the book so did not bother with the cinematic version. Wanna read a good book? "Caste"ReplyDelete
Never heard of that one. I just researched it. Looks interesting and indeed important. I may give it a try but I have so many books to read Donna. Thanks.Delete
I think, like Steve, that I prefer to read a book first before watching the movie and am often disappointed by filmed adaptations. The worst I have seen was The Lovely Bones.ReplyDelete
You should learn to knit YP. That way you can spend 34 hours watching tv with a clear conscience. Master the basic knit stitch and you could make Phoebe a doll's blanket for starters!
The countdown to our delivery date is now just 8 weeks and my needles are working overtime creating clothes for the coming babe while I watch episodes of The Arrival, Love Your Garden and Ugly House New House in the cool of the evening. It's a happy diversion from the sadness that is always present in the golden days of February and March when we pause to remember so many lives suddenly lost in our 2011 earthquake and the 2019 Mosque Murders.
This morning's Press carries their photos but also features stories of amazing bravery from the rescuers and the resilience of the injured in rebuilding their shattered lives. Life goes on.
Life does indeed go on Adele - but is knitting life? Please make sure you let me know when your own heavenly babe arrives.Delete
The very first thing I binge watched was American Horror story and then there was Dexter. I doubt you would like either of them.ReplyDelete
It's a very different way to watch tv, isn't it?
It is different! To see so many episodes in a relatively short time.Delete
I cannot bring myself to read, or watch, something so dystopian and despairing. Probably I would shoot to the uplifting end which you say it has.ReplyDelete
Despair is my middle name.Delete
I caught part of one episode, but felt that it wasn't my idea of enjoyable viewing, and your description of the story confirms my thoughts. I take my hat off to you YP, if you managed to watch every episode, even if over a month!ReplyDelete
What kind of a hat is it CG? I am imagining a white straw sombrero with a pink satin ribbon.Delete
I have to say that I cannot quite bring myself to watch this, because it strikes so close to home, figuratively speaking. As a rule, I try hard to avoid series, because I am fearful of binging on television.ReplyDelete
I binge on books though.
That's better, right?
Definitely better but harder work. This is the first time I have ever "binged" like this. I can see why you think it might be too "close to home". America has far more than its fair share of scary religious nutcases.Delete