The Handmaid’s Tale
Sometimes the right material hits the screen at just the right cultural moment, which is likely one of the reasons why The Handmaid’s Tale was last year’s zeitgeist-defining phenomenon. But if its eight Emmy wins this year—including for Outstanding Drama Series—didn’t push you to watch Hulu’s no-holds-barred adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s feminist classic, perhaps the upcoming second season will do the trick. With the first season having burned through most of the story from Atwood’s novel, it will be fascinating to see where the writers go with such a wide-open vista of possibilities—but judging by Season 2’s trailer, they’re not cutting back on the ambition. We’ll hold off on spoilers for those who still need to catch up, but now’s the time to dive into the patriarchal dystopia of Gilead. Early reviews indicate the new season lives up to the series’ audacious debut and Elizabeth Moss’ performance (as Offred/June) only gets more complex and intense. Premieres on Hulu April 25; hulu.com.
In 2017, Chilean director Sebastián Lelio stormed the American art house with A Fantastic Woman, which featured a tour-de-force performance from trans actress Daniela Varga and won this year’s Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. But even before getting that nomination, Lelio had already shot Disobedience, his English-language debut. An adaptation of Naomi Alderman’s first novel, Lelio’s film tells the story of a photographer (Rachel Weisz) who returns home to North London’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish community to attend her father’s funeral. There, she reunites with her childhood friend and former lover (Rachel McAdams); the two women rekindle their attraction, testing the limits of their faith and heritage. Weisz and McAdams, both luminary actresses, match perfectly with Lelio’s poignant and incisive sensibility. In theaters April 27; bleeckerstreetmedia.com.