6.0/10
5,338
54 user 22 critic

The Handmaid's Tale (1990)

In a dystopicly polluted rightwing religious tyranny, a young woman is put in sexual slavery on account of her now rare fertility.

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay)
Reviews
2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

The haunting story of two sisters and the secrets that bind them throughout several decades, both in life and death, as revealed through a cult novel titled "The Blind Assassin".

Drama | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

A young female landowner in 1840s Jamaica marries a just-arrived Englishman to avoid losing her property. All seems to be perfect, love arises, and happiness is on the way, but she is ... See full summary »

Director: John Duigan
Stars: Karina Lombard, Nathaniel Parker, Rachel Ward
Songcatcher (2000)
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

After being denied a promotion at the university where she teaches, Doctor Lily Penleric, a brilliant musicologist, impulsively visits her sister, who runs a struggling rural school in ... See full summary »

Director: Maggie Greenwald
Stars: Janet McTeer, Michael Davis, Michael Goodwin
Payback I (2012)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

An adaptation of Margaret Atwood's book examining the metaphor of indebtedness.

Director: Jennifer Baichwal
Stars: Eric Schlosser, Margaret Atwood, Conrad Black
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A young woman's life is scrutinized by police and tabloid press after she spends the night with a suspected terrorist.

Directors: Volker Schlöndorff, Margarethe von Trotta
Stars: Angela Winkler, Mario Adorf, Dieter Laser
Swann in Love (1984)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Elegant and educated bachelor, Charles Swann, moves in the most powerful and fashionable circles of Paris in the 1890's. When he falls in love with Odette de Crecy, a courtesan, his friends... See full summary »

Director: Volker Schlöndorff
Stars: Jeremy Irons, Ornella Muti, Alain Delon
Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit (TV Mini-Series 1989)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Jessica's extraordinarily strong will and heart enables her to rebel against her fanatical, cult-like upbringing. From seven to seventeen Jess is brainwashed to be one of the 'saved', to ... See full summary »

Stars: Cathryn Bradshaw, Emily Aston, Pam Ferris
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A very middle-class Bavarian family spend the last day of their Mediterranean vacation on the beach, day-dreaming and muttering racist remarks about Italians.

Director: Hanns Christian Müller
Stars: Gerhard Polt, Gisela Schneeberger, Dieter Hildebrandt
Freejack (1992)
Action | Crime | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

Bounty hunters from the future transport a doomed race-car driver to New York in 2009, where his mind will be replaced with that of a dead billionaire.

Director: Geoff Murphy
Stars: Emilio Estevez, Mick Jagger, Rene Russo
Code 46 (2003)
Drama | Romance | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A futuristic Brief Encounter (1945), this is a love story in which the romance is doomed by genetic incompatibility.

Director: Michael Winterbottom
Stars: Tim Robbins, Samantha Morton, Om Puri
Dezha vyu (1990)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The Prohibition years. Chicago bootleggers suffer losses due to their betrayal by one Mick Nich - Mikita Nichiporuk. The mob decides to execute the traitor, who escaped to Odessa, USSR, and... See full summary »

Director: Juliusz Machulski
Stars: Jerzy Stuhr, Galina Petrova, Nikolay Karachentsov
The Handmaid's Tale (TV Series 2017)
Drama

Set in a dystopian future, a woman is forced to live as a concubine under a fundamentalist theocratic dictatorship. A TV adaptation of Margaret Atwood's novel.

Stars: Elisabeth Moss
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Kate / Offred
...
Serena Joy
...
Nick
...
Moira
...
Aunt Lydia
...
Commander
...
Ofglen
...
Janine / Ofwarren
Zoey Wilson ...
Aunt Helena
Kathryn Doby ...
Aunt Elizabeth
...
Luke (as Rainer Schoene)
Lucia Hartpeng ...
Cora
Karma Ibsen Riley ...
Aunt Sara
Lucile McIntyre ...
Rita
...
Officer on Bus
Edit

Storyline

Set in a Fascistic future America, The Handmaid's Tale tells the story of Kate, a handmaid. In this America, the religious right has taken over and gone hog-wild. Kate is a criminal, guilty of the crime of trying to escape from the US, and is sentenced to become a Handmaid. The job of a Handmaid is to bear the children of the man to whom she is assigned. After ruthless group training by Aunt Lydia in the proper way to behave, Kate is assigned as Handmaid to the Commander. Kate is attracted to Nick, the Commander's chauffeur. At the same time, a resistance movement begins to challenge the regime. Written by Reid Gagle

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Branded: Sold: Controlled See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

9 March 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A História da Aia  »

Box Office

Gross:

$4,960,385 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Final film of actor Bill Owen. See more »

Goofs

In separate washroom stalls, Kate and Moira shake hands above the wall. We see Moira's hand go up, but when camera looks from Kate's side, her eyes look up before Moira's hand appears above the wall. See more »

Quotes

Aunt Lydia: You are the lucky ones. You are going to serve God and country. I pronounce you handmaids.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Hollywood vs. Religion (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Save A Soul In Every Town
Written by Henry Priestman
Published by 10 Music Ltd.
Performed by The Christians
Courtesy of Island Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Must See for Those Who Still Care About Women's Rights
26 February 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Margaret Atwood, a Canadian novelist (and poet) wrote the dark fantasy novel on which this film is based. It is set in The Republic of Gilead, formerly the United States, or at least the parts of it that are not radioactive. The radioactive parts are called the colonies, where bad girls are sent to die of radiation poisoning. The time is the near future, after the inevitable nuclear war, and the breakdown of government as we know it.

The society depicted in The Handmaid's Tale is a nightmare: everyone is watched by the Eyes, unknowable, unseen government spies. Women are forbidden to have jobs. They are irrevocably assigned to classes. At the top are the chaste, but morally superior, Wives, almost all of whom have been rendered infertile by the inevitable unclear war. At the bottom are the housekeepers, or Marthas, who are non-entities. In the middle are the Handmaids of the title, who are fertile, but tightly controlled. The term Handmaid is a Biblical term that is used in the Old Testament stories of Abraham, Sarah, Jacob and Rachel. In the Bible, the wives gave their handmaids to their husbands in order to produce heirs.

Handmaids, in the film and the book, are forced to have sex with the Commanders, the husbands of the Wives. During this sex, the Wives are intimately present to take in any "love" their Commanders have to give.

The Handmaids are trained to remain unattached to the Commanders. They are prohibited from using makeup or doing anything to make themselves attractive. Handmaids are forced to turn their offspring over to the morally "fit" Wives.

Robert Duvall, a Commander in whose home Offred is placed, gives a family Bible reading performance that will curdle the blood of true people of faith. It is a breathtaking, heart-stopping performance.

The government is totalitarian and monotheistic. The one god is very strict, and has His Eyes everywhere.

Offred, who was once known as Kate, is a Handmaid who, despite her training (read brainwashing), recalls her past, her loving husband, and her adored daughter. She tells with sparkling, and terrifying clarity, how the society came to be the way it is.

This governmental aspect of the story is instructive, however, they are almost totally absent in the film.

Offred's/Kate's personal story is heartrending. It reminds one of the miseries of, say, the women of Darfur. When the government breaks down, she and her husband and daughter attempt to flee to Canada. Unfortunately, they are caught. Her daughter is "confiscated." Her husband is taken away. She never sees her husband again.

Offred's training is not as extensively portrayed in the film as it is in the book, but her feeling of terror and helplessness are palpable, in an exquisite performance by Natasha Richardson. Warning, blood is shown.

As we ride down the slippery slope toward the overturning of Roe v. Wade, this film is a must see for those who still care about women's rights.


59 of 98 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Right Wing Fantasy? Give me a Break! donald-garon
Comparable movies BruceNyborg
The book- something I don't understand laurasalterego
I'm studying this in English!! allthatjazz97
Erotic???? johnny_crazy88
One of the best things about this movie... red_willow
Discuss The Handmaid's Tale (1990) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?