I have been watching The Handmaid’s Tale. I read The Handmaid’s Tale as a 14-year-old because my sister was reading it for Seventh Form English. I did everything I could to be as sophisticated as she was. My parents tried to tell her it was flattery. It didn’t make it less annoying.
Anyway – I read it as a teenager, and then again in my 20’s and then this summer I listened to it via Audiobooks -where, unfortunately it was narrated by an Englishwoman. A story set in North America – so particularly set in North America – I needed it to be read by a North American. But still. It was The Handmaid’s Tale, it was gripping and chilling and amazing and breathtaking. And heart breaking.
And so, I have eagerly awaited the TV series. I have waited without wanting to get too attached to the idea, because, well, I live in New Zealand, which has historically aired shows approximately 17 seasons after their release.
But, Lightbox. Lightbox, you are my friend. You weren’t my friend. You made me download something called Silverlight. Seriously. This is such a challenge. For me to have to install something. Usually, when anything like this happens I do this, “ROOOOOOOOOO-OOOOOON” (his name gets two syllables on these occasions) and I hand my computer over to him. This is reason #327 that I’m not a member of the FB group Feminist Mothers of Aotearoa. But, Ron’s not here. So I did it. I did. And then, when I went back to Lightbox and pressed play it said: You need to install Silverlight to watch this. WTF? I just did that. So, I did what every self-respecting technophobe does in these situations. I pressed Restart. Because, sometimes, the computer just needs a moment to collect its thoughts, you know?
But, alas, the computer, once its thoughts were collected, still wouldn’t let me watch it. By this time I had developed a tremor. So close. So far. I was about to give up. And then I saw a little message. That I needed to go to security blah blah blah to allow Silverlight to function. I guess it just needed a little encouragement. Maybe it’s really shy. So I did it!!! I did it!! And I watched the show!! And now, I think I’m in love with Elizabeth Moss. Really. She’s amazing.
I love that she did this role. I love that she has a sharp chin, and slightly-googly-eyes, and that she had bulges where her bra strap sat. I love that she had dimples in her upper arms. I love this because last year I lay on the couch watching Peaky Blinders with Ron and I had to pause it to point out that Not One Single Woman on that show had a figure even vaguely like mine. Like, there were no women who looked like they enjoyed three meals a day. Maybe the women on that show do eat three meals a day, and they have super-fast metabolisms, and they hate how skinny they are and they’d love to have boobs and hips and thighs that touch in the middle. Maybe. But, for EVERY woman on the show to *not* look like ^^that, it’s just, well, fucked up. (Ron pointed out that there was in fact one. The woman that the Prime Minister was sketching – she had a few rolls here and there. I pointed out that I didn’t care and my point was still well made.) I want to see more women on TV who look more like me. (and, you know, most of the women on TV *are* the same colour as me – so I shouldn’t even be complaining, really)
I love that she did this role. She DID it. I feel like she read the book as a teenager and maybe it was what got her into acting. That as a 13-year-old a young and maybe innocent Elizabeth (or Lizzie as she was known back then) sat in her room and read the book and devoured each one of Margaret Atwood’s words, and then said, “Mom! Dad! I’m going to be an actor, and one day I’m going to fucking nail this role.” I feel like that may really have happened.
She does all the different manifestations of Offred and June with such amazing believability. In various scenes switching subtly between the two, and we know which one she is, and we’re right there with her, hearts breaking.
I love that she did this role. That she tells this story. This story which seems ever-poignant, ever-more relevant. Margaret Atwood fascinates me. I listened to Kim Hill interview her and I loved the considered way she answered the questions. I loved the space she gave herself to think of the answer to each question. The answer she wanted to give, not necessarily the one Kim Hill wanted to hear. I love that she seems to be able to come up with multiple versions of just how fucked up we can make this world. And they seem so awfully believable.
I also love Samira Wiley (who played Moira in the series). I love that it was her scene that finally pushed me over the brink and tears ran down my face. Jeepers. I’ll spare you the spoiler-details. But, sheesh, Samira, far out.
I can’t wait for the next season. Please, tell me there’s another season. Please. I think I’m getting another tremor.