The Handmaid’s Tale (DVD) – Movie Review
Follow Genre: Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi
Director: Volker Schlöndorff
Distributor: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Duration: 109 minutes

The Handmaid’s Tale (DVD) – Movie Review

Site Score
Good: Atmosphere, Strong story
Bad: Very dated at times
User Score
(3 votes)
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Rating: 6.3/10 (3 votes cast)

For many, The Handmaid’s Tale will ring a bell, probably because of the series that is currently running. The series seems to be popular as it’s already going on for three seasons. Many of those current fans will probably not know that a movie was also made, but way back in 1990, starring Faye Dunaway. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment decided to board the hype-train and rerelease the original film on DVD. Little too late or an ideal time to cash in on the popularity of the story?

The story of The Handmaid’s Tale will pretty much revolve around Kate (Natasha Richardson), who tries to escape the new regime that rules the United States. Every fertile woman gets rounded up, captured, and brainwashed into becoming a handmaid, whose sole purpose is to breed children for those deemed worthy. Of course, this is pretty much promoting rape culture for those who are mentally fit and don’t get brainwashed that easily. Sadly, even then these poor women don’t have a choice, and resisting will only result in corporal punishment or even worse, death.

Kate is then placed with the ‘commander’s’ (Robert Duvall) family, who are trying to conceive a child. His wife, Serena (Faye Dunaway) isn’t all too happy with having a younger girl running around the house, serving as a personal sex slave. The entire ordeal is very traumatic for Kate, but it’s clear she takes a liking to Nick (Aidan Quinn), who makes things more bearable. Even so, she wants to escape this life and become a free woman once again.

If you’re expecting a very fast and flashy experience, then it’s best to skip this movie immediately. If you’re looking to see a proper picture being painted of a very dystopian future, then you’re in for a treat. The flow is quite slow, as it’s all about the atmosphere, information and the intensity of certain scenes. You’ll see how Kate is being turned into a Handmaid, whose only purpose is to breed children for the elite. She gets reasonably well taken care of, but she is forced to have sex, in order to provide her caretakers with a child (or children). Details are important in the movie, and while there is some nudity involved, it’s the way how some scenes are shown which makes the movie rather heavy and depressing. The future seems to be a world where fertile women are nothing more than a commodity or slaves, who are being indoctrinated and brainwashed.

While many younger people will not really know any of the stars that are featured in this movie, safe for Aidan Quinn, who stars in Elementary, you’ll still have proper acting performances. The leading roles are played by Natasha Richardson as Kate, Faye Dunaway as Serena, Aidan Quinn as Nick, and last but not least, Robert Duvall as the commander. Each of these cast members does a formidable job of painting a horrible future for mankind, and they do so with conviction.

The DVD rerelease of the Handmaid’s Tale comes with hardly any special features, which is not uncommon for a movie that dates back from the 1990s. You’ll have a few pictures, which include scenes from the movie from other angles, and the original trailer, and that’s it. You’ll have to make do with little to no content if you wish to prolong your experience of the Handmaid’s Tale. It would have been nice if it included some features that revolve around the current ongoing series, or the source material, but it would be silly to invest money in such an old movie.


The Handmaid’s Tale is still a very interesting movie, even though it feels very dated at times, especially when looking at the technology that was available in the 1990s. The story shows a very eerie future if the human race would struggle to procreate by forcing fertile women to get pregnant for the elite.

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Rating: 6.3/10 (3 votes cast)
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The Handmaid's Tale (DVD) - Movie Review, 6.3 out of 10 based on 3 ratings

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