Creepy, multilayered, and expertly spun out, this spectacular drama makes its vision of a potential future seem all too possible. Offred had another name, another life, before she was captured and turned into "breeding stock." She went to college, she had a boyfriend, she took Uber rides. But when she tried to escape to Canada with her husband and her daughter, her husband was killed, her daughter taken, and Offred only spared death because she had proved herself fertile. Now her present consists of going to the market (where groceries are labeled with pictures, because women shouldn't read), cloaked in a blood-red dress and modest bonnet, always in the company of Ofglen, another handmaid on loan to another rich household.
Once a month, she has sex with the Commander (Joseph Fiennes) and hopes that it results in a child, because this is Offred's second posting. If she doesn't become pregnant soon, she'll be labeled an "unwoman" and sent to the Colonies to clean up radioactive waste until her skin peels off in sheets. Yes, as you may have gathered, this is a pitch-black tale. But Moss' deep, layered performance, the beautiful visuals, and powerful storytelling keep The Handmaid's Tale from being depressing. Instead, it's scary, discomfiting, and all too plausible.