» » The Handmaid's Tale Offred (2017– )

Short summary

Offred, one of the few fertile women known as Handmaids in the oppressive Republic of Gilead, struggles to survive as a reproductive surrogate for a powerful Commander and his resentful wife.

The 'Aunt' who hits Offred on the side of the head during the Red Center scene is portrayed by author Margaret Atwood.

The song that concludes the pilot episode, "You Don't Own Me," was recorded by Lesley Gore in 1963 and was #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks in a row in 1964. It was something of a departure for Gore, who had previously been known as a teenaged bubblegum pop singer; she had recorded her biggest hit, "It's My Party," as a junior in high school. "You Don't Own Me" was received as an anthem of women's independence and empowerment and was later seen as an early inspiration for the feminist movement. Gore herself eventually broke out of the teen singer mold, becoming an Oscar-nominated songwriter in her own right and coming out as a lesbian.

In a "New York Times" essay published in March 2017, as well as in the new introduction to a 2017 edition of her novel "The Handmaid's Tale," Margaret Atwood said that when she started writing the book, her title for it was "Offred." This is the name given to the main character by the repressive regime that is enslaving her. In addition to its primary meaning (that she is the property of a commander named Fred), Atwood also explained that she intended for the name to also remind the reader of the word "offered," meaning, "denoting a religious offering or a victim offered for sacrifice." The series's showrunners chose to name the first episode of the show "Offred."

Madeleine Brewer (Janine) and Samira Wiley (Moira) both played characters in the Netflix series Orange Is The New Black.

The episode won 4 Emmy Awards for Outstanding Production Design for a Narrative Period Program (One Hour or More), Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series (One Hour), Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series and Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series.

Elisabeth Moss (June Osborne) & Alexis Bledel (Emily) also worked together on Безумцы (2007) as Peggy Olson & Beth Dawes respectively.

Samira Wiley (Moira) & Madeline Brewer (Janine) also worked together on Оранжевый - хит сезона (2013) as Poussey Washington & Tricia Miller respectively.

User reviews

  • comment
    • Author: Galubel
    In the "present", the main character now known as Offred is living under a new regime after the collapse and breakup of the United States which happened just a few years earlier.

    But it could have happened generations ago; or so it seems in Cambridge, Massachusetts, home of the ruling elite of the new Republic of Gilead. They've stripped away so much of the culture and history that was there before and replaced it with the preferences of the new rulers.

    It seems like odd mixture of influences cobbled together but becomes even more frightening as it begins to make a certain amount of sense in context. The obvious theme is a return to the Puritan period of (part of) America's past. But the Puritans, for all their faults, had some proto- democratic and egalitarian leanings.

    But sorry, these don't fit the Republic of Gilead's needs, so on one level it's not Ye Olde New England at all, but a feudal atmosphere where the commoners serve on the estates of "great men." These Commanders of the Faithful don't put up with priests, however, because they speak for God as well as ruling the secular realm. An ominous secret police force called the Eyes are also a big deal and soldiers constantly patrol the streets giving off a Nazi or Stalinist vibe.

    Women are of course singled out for the least power and worst treatment, especially if they didn't marry an important man (in which case, they can wear nice clothes, decorate, garden and drink their sorrows away). At least men can try to work their way up the military chain of command or have regular jobs, though they are forbidden to marry or reproduce without permission and can be sent to die in an ongoing war against the remnant of the USA.

    "Marthas", the female domestic servants work nearly every waking hour. Handmaids are the ultimate example of reductionism. There has been a sterility plague and the few remaining unmarried fertile women are drafted into a state sponsored pseudo-religious order to bear children for whomever they get assigned to. They are blatantly thought of as walking wombs.

    All of these roles are embodiments of typical stereotypes of women that have existed for thousands of years. There is even a color coded uniform for each one, though the Wives are allowed a little more variety in style.

    I'm sorry to go to such lengths to describe Gilead, but my point is that for the main character, its immersive atmosphere and largely successful erasure of the recent past makes it quite a task to hold onto her sense of self and reality.

    The flashbacks to her last few years before everything changed are painful because they're all she has left of her husband (presumed dead and marriage dissolved by Gilead in any case because she was his second wife), daughter (taken away and given to a "deserving" childless couple) and best friend who was recruited as a Handmaid, too, after the revolution but who disappeared after displaying too much rebellious behavior.

    So much of the story is her struggle to stay mentally alive and to be prepared to fight back when and if the time comes. Her internal dialogue is everything from sorrow to mockery of her new masters.

    By the end of the pilot, she is ready to privately reclaim her real name-- June--and swear to find her daughter, Hannah.
  • comment
    • Author: Ffleg
    Great direction, casting. I believe it is a relevant morality tale for these times. We should not underestimate the power of religious fundamentalism.This adaptation of Margaret Atwood's novel is just as captivating and chilling as the book. Elisabeth Moss and Yvonne Strahovski give wonderful performances. I have to say it's great to see Strahovski take on such a risky role.As the subject says, this is a brilliant adaptation of the original text. As several articles about it have said, it's incredibly timely. I, unfortunately, made it to the third episodes but I won't be watching it anymore. I can't. It's too terrifying to watch considering that we're 3/4 of the way to this being a reality, at least in the U.S. and especially for women of color. Still, if you can look past that, I would definitely recommend this series. The acting is incredible, the sets and costumes are flawless, and even the way that flashbacks are handled is fantastic. Elizabeth Moss deserves every award and Alexis Bledel and Samira Wiley are right there with her. Even Yvonne Strahovski is brilliant - not that she isn't always, but her character is definitely not as likable in this as those she normally portrays. I hope everyone involved with this understands how important it is that they've made it and that they've made it now. They all have my undying gratitude for taking such an unflinching look at such a terrifyingly real story.The show is wonderfully nuanced in everything from dialog to film editing. This pilot is possibly the best thing I've seen on TV in years.
  • comment
    • Author: Bladecliff
    The Handmaid's Tale doesn't waist any time in enticing the viewer and pulling him or her right into the backstory of the main characters. The showrunners start off strong by setting the show's evocative and intense first scene before the supposed massacre. This massacre led to the creation of the Handmaid's and their harsh treatment under a world similar to that of communism in the 60's and 70's. The scene shows a portion of what happened to the lead character June/Offred before this world was invented, when this terrifying reality was being imagined, but not much else. After this scene wraps up, we become enamoured and terrified with the world of Gillead, a place created in the aftermath of several government problems, which we will slowly find out in a series of flashbacks.

    As of right now, anyone watching this first episode should be impressed to say the least. We are immediately introduced to our lead character, and the terrifying realm of Gillead. We slowly learn why this horrific world was created in the first place (although a formal backstory doesn't occur until the show's sixth episode). From here, we are introduced to a variety of eccentric characters who govern Gillead. Several impressive actors include Ann Dowd, as Aunt Lydia. Lydia is given the arduous task of training, as well as caring for the Handmaids. Other phenomenal actors include Yvonne Strahovski as the harsh and emotionally distant Serena Joy Waterford, the lead handmaid, Elizabeth Moss as June/Offred, and Alexis Bledel as Emily . The camera perfectly captures each stern glare that these women can give, along with their anger, loss, fear and unwillingness to be defeated.

    Cinematography is one of the most important aspects of the TV/movie world. The Handmaid's Tale is an example of some of the best camera-work. The diverse lighting and varied camera angles help to increase the excitement, tone and mood of the episode. Red is a prominent color on this show, symbolically representing fertility and blood, giving of life and taking it away simultaneously. It is captured beautifully amidst the countlesss len's flares and the magnificent scenery.

    It's important that a movie or TV show has a message, or a certain level of social commentary, something to resonate with the viewers long after the credits have rolled. The Handmaid's Tale introduces several political themes almost right away in "Offred." However, the theme that is the most blatant part of this show is dismantling women's rights and use of religion to justify this.

    It's safe to say that at this point in time, The Handmaid's Tale tends to be a woman's show, in that it is primarily about women, the torture inflicted upon these poor women as a result of a completely changed society, and the rise to triumph and revenge and redemption they will hopefully achieve once they organize, as they clearly must. All of these Handmaids are forced to birth a baby, because the other women (the women in green who are the infertile wives) can't. The Handmaids are not allowed to read, write or do anything other than what they are told to do.

    The men are in charge of everything in this world. They are most particularly in charge of all of the women. Even the women in charge of the Handmaids ultimately report to men in this harsh world. The show implies that the new society has relied heavily on old, familiar religious themes such as the existence of a punitive God who has left us with bad crops and infertile woman because we were a culture without morals. The question of whether something like this could eventually occur, especially regarding the undoing of women's right's, really creates a sense of horror in this show. It captures, (although in an extremely exaggerated fashion) how in the real world something like this might eventually happen. Here are where the problems on this show start to occur.

    The show predicts that this is a world that we could possibly be living in a long time from now. Is it correct to say that certain aspects of this show could come true one day? Yes, but this is an extreme level of what could happen. It's also a bit harsh to make the viewer feel as if all men are as tortourous and downright evil as they appear to be are on this show. Nevertheless, these are important themes to explore. For the showrunners to have decided to include these themes at all is a valiant decision, and just for that, I will continue to love this show until the end of days.

    Episode 1 "Offred"= 91% -five points taken off for being incredibly slow moving at certain moment -four points taken off for exaggerated depiction of the future, and harsh treatment of all men
  • comment
    • Author: Kulasius
    This show is very well written and the actors are amazing. Great way to begin a series! I like the flashbacks that help build the characters. I highly recommend this show!
  • comment
    • Author: Memuro
    Can't believe some rewievs of this show. This is disturbing and I understand that some people do not like this not because show is bad, I rather think this might be too shocking for some viewers. This is a second time I started to watch this and I'm shocked in a good way. I have read the book and I have to say it is great adaptation between book and show. In this very first episode Characters might stay little shallow but they will be involving episode by episode. One of the very enjoyable thing here is a very good dialogue and the bloodcurdling atmosphere. This is a real life horror cause it's so Damn realistic.
  • comment
    • Author: happy light
    This show has gotten such rave reviews, I had to check it out. Now that I've seen the pilot, and only the pilot, I have to wait and see how things progress, but for now I can focus on what I see as the biggest pro and the biggest con, thus far.

    The pro: visually stunning. That depth of field is enrapturing. The color tones, too. Just perfect.

    The con, and it's a common one: beautiful visuals often happen at the expense of story. And, story-wise, I expected the pilot would have more going for it. We didn't see anything new or innovative. And perhaps the pilot steering away from the pressure to out-dramatize other shows' pilots will turn into a strength, if the rest of the show ends up being compelling, but for now it feels flat and caricaturized, relying on the works of other people to imbue the concepts and visuals with dramatic purport.

    I will say, the moment where the two handmaidens realize they both saw each other as fakely pious was eye-opening. This gives me hope that the continuing episodes will attempt some originality, without relying on borrowing tension from other skilled writers and filmmakers. (And yes, I'm taking into account that this show is based on a book.)
  • comment
    • Author: Zetadda
    Forget all the other reviews because they leave out something big!!! What they leave out is the far right, conservative movement we are in right now!!! What you see in this is what they want for our future!!! This should be an eye opener for this country!!! Do you really want to live in a world that women have no rights & everyone else has to follow? Take this as a glimps Of what's to come!!!
  • comment
    • Author: Nilabor
    The idea for this series is very original, but I founded 'christianphobic'. Seriously in this 'modern' society there are people who think Christians see women in that way and that will be a perfect world for a Christian? It is an exaggeration. Direction and acting is okay.
  • comment
    • Author: Avarm
    I have just finished episode 4 of Handmaid's Tale, so I thought I would take a moment to reflect on the first four episodes of the show. I will specifically focus on this first episode in this review.

    This show is straight up terrible. If you want to save an hour of your day, do not watch this show. The main actress is very painful to watch and she has a personality blander than a piece of white bread. The "sexual tension" that this show is famous for is nothing more than awkward silence with practically no purpose. I constantly found myself looking towards my phone for salvation from the boredom. The journey that Offred goes on is one of suffering and inefficient decision making. If you want adventure, drama, espionage, and "sexual tension" done right, go watch Game of Thrones. This show will disappoint and leave you wondering why you ever started it in the first place.
  • comment
    • Author: Whitebeard
    Don't wast your time trying to understand why this show is bad, or why it's ok to watch, if you get through the first episode you might want to check with a psychiatrist. This is why Award shows like the Oscars are so out of control now. This show has an 8.6 rating! Do not be deceived!
  • Episode cast overview, first billed only:
    Elisabeth Moss Elisabeth Moss - June Osborne
    Joseph Fiennes Joseph Fiennes - Fred Waterford
    Yvonne Strahovski Yvonne Strahovski - Serena Joy Waterford
    Alexis Bledel Alexis Bledel - Emily
    Madeline Brewer Madeline Brewer - Janine
    Ann Dowd Ann Dowd - Aunt Lydia
    O-T Fagbenle O-T Fagbenle - Luke Bankole
    Max Minghella Max Minghella - Nick Blaine
    Samira Wiley Samira Wiley - Moira
    Amanda Brugel Amanda Brugel - Rita
    Jordana Blake Jordana Blake - Hannah
    Bahia Watson Bahia Watson - Oferic
    Jenessa Grant Jenessa Grant - Ofsamuel
    Nina Kiri Nina Kiri - Alma
    Shruti Kothari Shruti Kothari - Woman with Moira
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