The Handmaid's Tale

1990

Drama / Romance / Sci-Fi / Thriller

101
IMDb Rating 6 10 8,135

Synopsis


Downloaded times
March 21, 2020

Cast

Faye Dunaway as Marilyn Mickler
Natasha Richardson as Shelley Allen
Robert Duvall as Bill Vigars
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
998.25 MB
1280*720
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
108 min
P/S N/A / N/A
1.81 GB
1920×1080
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
108 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by realreel 9 / 10 / 10

as good as commercial film gets

I'm surprised by some of the negative comments on this film. In my opinion, it represents the best kind of literary adaptation that the cinema offers: One in which the screenwriter and director clearly remained faithful to the spirit of the book without attempting to reproduce it. How can you go wrong with a Margaret Atwood book, a Harold Pinter screenplay and Volker Schlöndorff's direction? Some have suggested that the film suffered from "wooden" acting. Personally, I thought it was a fantastic cast: Robert Duvall and Victoria Tennant at their evil best; Faye Dunnaway as the "defeated" wife; Elizabeth McGovern as saucy as ever; Aidan Quinn and Natascha Richardson in the necessarily bland roles that drive the narrative. What holes here? Commercial film doesn't get any better. "The Handmaid's Tale" is a dark portrait of a world unlike ours and yet so much like ours... in which a right-wing, bureaucratic patriarchy dominates the land. Women have three main functions (for which their clothing is color coded): Red for the handmaids, who are walking wombs; white for the innnocent children; blue for the sterile trophy wives. Brown is worn by the "aunts", a futuristic equivalent of the Sonderkomando (i.e., Jews who worked on behalf of the Nazi's in the death camps), evil schoolmistress types who both train/brainwash young women for assignment and occasionally destroy them. A fifth function, for which the garb is particularly interesting, is "working" in Gilead's underground social club (essentially a den of iniquity, rife with prostitution and drugs.) Point is... by splitting up these functions, hasn't Atwood described the basic roles that women play within our own male-dominated society, in various different permutations and combinations? To the patriarchy, women are mothers, models, sluts, angels and, when professionals, they are not to aspire to more teaching posts. In Gilead, the lines are clearer; in our own society, aren't most women "supposed to" play some combination of all of these roles? I get the feeling that most moviegoers are looking for something else in "sci-fi." Here's a new plot twist: The rebels feed Kate some kind of medication that allows her to read the commander's mind while destroying his brain. Wait... that's "Scanners." Oops. Seriously, two of the reviews on this site made spedific mention of Schlöndorff's "horrible", "atrocious" directorial skills. Ahem. Perhaps before they weigh in on the auteur, they ought to see "Young Törless", "Coup de grâce", "The Tin Drum" and all of his other wonderful efforts. As a matter of fact, to insinuate that someone who could bring Grass' Tin Drum to the screen in such a stunning fashion is a lousy director is PREPOSTEROUS. Schlöndorff is a giant of the New German Cinema, and it underscores the ignorance of the Hollywooders when they cast such baseless aspersions.

Reviewed by ddelamaide 9 / 10 / 10

Startling visual impact

The handmaids in brilliant red, the wives in electric blue, the children in white--Margaret Atwood's neo-fascist state comes startingly alive in Schloendorff's film. The bright colors are oppressive in their uniformity, whether in the "ceremony"--Robert Duvall's passionless copulation with Natasha Richardson as she lies in the lap of his sterile wife, Faye Dunaway--or in the party to celebrate the birth of a handmaid's child, or the execution of another handmaid for fornication. There are several fine actors--Elizabeth McGovern and Aidan Quinn also play memorable, if brief, roles--but the cinematography steals the show here, giving this anti-Utopia the same oppressive tension as the original 1984 and far surpassing any version of Brave New World. It may be that Atwood's book, which I haven't read, adds layers of depth to the characters and plot, but Schloendorff's visualisation is a real enhancement to the tale. He creates the tension of a police state with only momentary intrusions of brutality or machinery. A strong film that will gain its following with time.

Reviewed by DeeNine-2 9 / 10 / 10

A Taliban-like Christian theocracy in the US

This is a haunting, psychologically compelling story about what the United States might be like under a right wing, fundamentalist theocracy. Adapted by the acclaimed playwright Harold Pinter from the novel by Margaret Atwood, this is a tale of the suppression of women by a totalitarian state called the 'Republic of Gilead.' In some respects one is reminded of Orwell's 1984: the endless war from without, designed to keep the populace preoccupied and beholden to the state; the paucity of basic food stuffs and consumer goods expect for the ruling class, the general hopelessness, etc. There is horrendous pollution so that most women are not fertile, yet the state needs babies for the war effort and the economy. Consequently women's bodies are taken over by the state, and those women that are fertile are made to bear children for the sterile leaders. Those who are not fertile are reduced to servitude. All overt sexual expression and any kind of activity not in keeping with the strict dictates of the fundamentalist religion is forbidden, and transgressions are punishable by death, sometimes in public hangings. In one ugly scene the handmaids themselves are made to pull the rope that attaches to the noose that strangles a wayward handmaid. This is followed by a man accused of rape being thrown to the handmaids, who literally rip him apart with their bare hands. Natasha Richardson has the starring role as a fertile handmaid for the Commander (Robert Duvall). She is not artificially inseminated (presumably since that would be against the dictates of the religion, which is, by the way, a kind of repressive fundamentalist Christianity), instead there is a 'ceremony' in which the Commander's wife (Faye Dunaway) holds her hands (as they both wear veils) while the Commander with his clothes still on--Well, one can imagine. I read the novel some years ago and was struck not by Atwood's attack on fundamentalist Christianity as much as I was by her attack on men, period. Harold Pinter's screenplay and Volker Schlondorff's direction emphasize the hypocrisy, willful ignorance and anti-human aspects of fundamentalism while attributing the sexism to the patriarchal religion. What is stunningly topical (viewing this in the year of Our Lord 2002) is the parallel between the repressive fundamentalist theocracy of Atwood's vision and that of the Taliban. The subjugation of women, using them strictly as servants or as reproductive machines, their bodies covered and their heads veiled (in bright red), is a striking bit of dead-on foresight by Atwood, Pinter and Schlondorff. This movie was perhaps made a decade ahead of its time. Richardson is very good in her characteristic way. She has a quality unlike most movie stars in that she projects primarily not her looks or charisma or even her vitality, but instead her individual will, a quality that is exactly right for the part. Faye Dunaway as the commander's wife acts out (in contrasting blue) a kind of Daughters of the American Revolution club woman mentality to a tee. Duvall is wonderfully slimy as a warlord hypocrite always claiming to act in the name of God. (Seems familiar.) Elizabeth McGovern is believable as a sexy lesbian handmaid (a 'gender criminal') while Victoria Tennant ("Aunt Lydia") is a kind of drill sergeant housemother to the handmaids. Aidan Quinn gets to be Richardson's heroic lover. This may not be entirely faithful to the book, but it is a fine work in its own right. The direction is intelligent and focused and the script by Pinter excellent. The acting is superior all around and the story is true in a psychologically sense. This movie is also a warning that it could happen here. (Note: Over 500 of my movie reviews are now available in my book "Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!" Get it at Amazon!)

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