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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
Popularity
135 ( 29)

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ON DISC
2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

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

A haunting tale of sexuality in a country gone wrong. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Star Faye Dunaway originally quit the role of the Commander's wife, believing her character to be too weak, but a phone call from source novelist Margaret Atwood changed her mind. See more »

Goofs

The clock chimes 10 as Offred enters the Commander's office for the last time, but the clock seen on the wall behind her in the next few shots shows several minutes past 10 and in a close-up has gone back a few minutes. See more »

Quotes

Moira: What they get you for?
Kate: We tried to cross the border. You?
Moira: Gender Treachery. I like girls.
Kate: My God! They could've sent you to the colonies for that.
Moira: They don't send you to the colonies if your ovaries are still jumping.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Gossip Girl: The Handmaiden's Tale (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Shall We Gather At The River
Written by Robert Lowry
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User Reviews

 
unconvincing dystopian fable
25 November 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

There's nothing subtle about this screen adaptation of Margaret Atwood's cautionary fable, but the premise is nothing if not provocative: in a repressive fundamentalist dictatorship (called Gilead, but ostensibly America in the near future) the few remaining fertile women are forced to bear children, in effect becoming sexual servants to the (male) powers-that-be. Gilead may be colored red, white and blue, but there's more than a passing resemblance to Orwell's Oceana; even the act of conception is reduced to a ritual, with the euphemism 'ceremony' doubling for intercourse. A talented cast does its best with Harold Pinter's typically inscrutable screenplay, but under Volker Schlondorff's dispassionate direction the film never achieves a convincing level of oppression or paranoia. Worse, it lacks a story to match its scenario; the handmaid Offred's redemption is achieved only with the help of another man, which seems to deflate the feminist slant. The final result is nowhere near a successful movie, but never less than a fascinating failure.


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