Claire Danes is a wonderful narrator for this particular story. Her performance is matter-of-fact with just a hint of the emotional trauma of Offred’s experiences. She is a woman trying desperately to narrate a nightmare by keeping all emotion at bay. That she fails at times only adds to the story and to Ms. Danes’ performance because those cracks in the façade are more brutally honest than anything she states. It is a powerful story made even more heart-wrenching by Ms. Danes’ taut performance.
The Handmaid’s Tale is truly an appalling story. Indeed, Ms. Danes’ performance makes it more horrifying than a normal horror story. The evolution of the Republic of Gilead and the formation of the Handmaids are too realistic and possible for comfort, and the fates of Offred’s daughter/husband/friends/fellow women confirm that uncomfortable truth. The story loses none of its horror upon repeat readings either, indicating just how powerful and frightening a story it really is. The Handmaid’s Tale is truly a force of nature and a must-read for all women if not for everyone, as it is an vital warning against religious extremism and the radical actions such views can take.