The Handmaid's Tale

Chloe Moino and Lauren LaChapelle

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Characters

All of the characters were the same in the book as they were in the movie. The only difference was that the wife, Serena Joy, did not have a cane in the movie like she did in the book.

Plot

The beginning of the movie was completely different than the book. The movie began with Luke, her husband, getting shot and the Handmaid, Kate, getting taken away to become a handmaid. They were on the boarder trying to escape when the guardians came and took her away, shot Luke, and left her daughter out in the snow. The handmaid in the book never told us her name but in the movie she said her name was Kate right away. In the end of the movie, Kate runs away with the help of Nick and lives in a trailer. In the book, she gets arrested and taken away then the book ends. The book just began with Kate becoming a Handmaid and her story then just ended when she got arrested. The movie was a lot more climactic.

Setting

The setting of Gilead was the same in the book as it was in the movie. They did a pretty good job of keeping the setting true to how it was described in the book. I just didn't picture the house that Kate stayed in to look so modern compared to the Victorian Mansion the book described.

Conflict

The conflict in the book of Kate having small acts of rebellion to the society she lived in stayed the same in the movie. Her sneaking around with the commander and eventually Nick was the exact same, just a little bit more dramatic in the movie. The whole conflict of Kate needing to get pregnant but still wanting to find a way to escape was the same transferred into the movie.

Theme

The theme for the movie was the same as the book in the sense that women's bodies were just used as tools rather than an actual human being. They could be considered political instruments because they were just used to have babies or work. That was all they could do. In this society, they set women back about 100 years. Women were just seen as tools and a way to produce a child, as soon as they produced one, it was taken away to a wife and not to be considered theirs.
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The scene of Kate actually being arrested was somewhat taken from the film because they made a whole new ending. The scene where she is taken away by the Eyes in the novel was transformed into her being taken to safety by Eyes that were Nick's friends. This was probably done so that the movie watcher would have more of an ending to go along with and to make it more climactic. The new ending changed the whole end of the story from the novel to the book. Maybe the reason that Kate was taken away with the help of Nick to safety was to provide a somewhat happy ending to a dystopian movie that not all people might like or understand. This just made the ending where the watcher could have hope instead of the reader who accepted the defeat as Kate was arrested.
The director made the film the way he did to most likely make a better movie. If he stuck to the depressed, somewhat melancholy tone from the book not as many people would want to see it because it would just be a sad, oppressive film. The movie being more climactic and having things and people to hope for made it more interesting and a lot easier to make sense of. He probably made the movie the way he did to improve his ticket sales and the overall effect of the movie, not to be exactly like a book. Since when has a movie been exactly like the book?

Movie Reviews

The critic notes that "The movie is a little vague about the conditions of the war and the society" just how it is in the book. Saying how "The purpose is to isolate, exaggerate and dramatize the ways in which women are the handmaidens of society in general and men in particular" perfectly sums up the movie. It was a very exaggerated version of the book but it was still really good. In the book as it is in the movie, "Childbearing is the movie's metaphor of choice" that the author and director both paid attention to. One critic even said there was "melodrama here and there in the screenplay". The movie was just a dramatized version of the book to make it more interesting and easier to understand. The movie was probably like this in order to grab the attention of more people as well. Overall, the movie was a big hit even though now it is very difficult to watch much less find. While it was out it won 2 awards and was nominated for another.

Novel Reviews

The book critics note that it is a "is a woman's world, even though governed, seemingly, and policed by men" because women are so dominant throughout the whole book. The author of the book is said to "carefully [draw] her projections from current trends". This makes the book more dystopian and hitting closer to home for some of the readers. By taking elements form the world currently as the book was written and exaggerating them for this book makes it a lot more melancholy and sad compared to the dramatic version seen in the movie. The novel was seen as "so hard to put down, in part so striking". Overall, the book was for the most part a very good read even though it could be confusing or "lacking imagination" at times.