‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Is Fascinating...but Don’t Watch It Before Bedtime
If The Hunger Games and Divergent had a baby, it would be The Handmaid’s Tale.
Hulu’s vivid adaptation of Margaret Atwood's controversial novel brings dystopian nightmares to life. The visceral sci-fi thriller, starring Elisabeth Moss (Offred) and Alexis Bledel (Ofglen), paints the picture of a United States that has been taken over by a totalitarian and Protestant fundamentalist government called Gilead. In this miserable world, women are forbidden to work, make money or even read. Rife infertility has pigeonholed young fertile women (handmaids) into acting as forced surrogates for elite families. The handmaids are then stripped of their real names and take on the name of their master (i.e.: Of-Fred).
It’s powerful, it’s brutal and it certainly won’t leave you feeling warm and fuzzy inside. And, just one week into its run on Hulu, the series has already been picked up for a second season set to air in 2018.
Take a peek at the characters you’ll learn to root for and vehemently despise.
Elisabeth Moss as Offred
The story’s protagonist, Offred/June was once a mother and wife before being forced to live in the home of Commander Fred Waterford (Joseph Fiennes) and his barren wife, Serena Joy Waterford (Yvonne Strahovski). Moss shines in her role as the tenacious handmaid in a more brazen way than she did as Mad Men's Peggy Olson.
Joseph Fiennes as Commander Fred Waterford
Fiennes plays one of the founding fathers of Gilead. He is also head of the household where Offred is held captive.
Yvonne Strahovski as Serena Joy Waterford
Strahovski portrays the villainous role of Mrs. Waterford, who is still just as ostracized as the handmaidens despite her social status. You may recognize Strahovski from her equally evil role as Hannah McKay on Dexter.
Alexis Bledel as Ofglen
Ofglen just may be the role that will eternally illuminate Bledel's TV stardom. Bledel’s role in The Handmaid’s Tale is a far cry from the bookish Rory Gilmore. She plays a young handmaid (formerly named Emily) who seems like the peak of piety, but upon closer inspection, has more complex layers than an onion.
Madeline Brewer as Ofwarren
Brewer traded her Orange Is the New Black character's (Tricia Miller) corn-rows for a more understated bonnet. She plays a fellow handmaid who has difficulty adapting to her new role and is severely reprimanded in the first episode.
Ann Dowd as Aunt Lydia
You may recognize Dowd from her role as one of the members of The Guilty Remnant in HBO’s The Leftovers, but she's definitely no longer silent. Dowd brings Atwood's Aunt Lydia character to life as the caustic teacher who governs over the handmaids.
Max Minghella as Nick, the Commander’s driver
Minghella plays the Commander's low-ranking and mild-mannered driver. He takes a liking to Offred and warns her to be careful. You may recognize his baby face from The Social Network.
Samira Wiley as Moira
Another OITNB alum, Wiley plays Offred’s strong-willed friend from college.