TV REVIEW: 13 Reasons Why

New thing… TV reviews. I am going to do whole seasons/mini-series I have watched. As always short and honest. I am starting with 13 Reasons Why.

13 Reasons Why tells the story of Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford), a teenage girl who has recently committed suicide. Before her death she recorded a series of cassette tapes explaining the thirteen reasons why she chose to end her life, each addressed to the person who she holds responsible. Her instructions are that each person should listen to the full set of tapes and then pass it on to the next person.

We watch the tapes being consumed by Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette), Hannah’s classmate and potential love interest as he wrestles with his grief and anger as well as wondering what he might have done to prevent the tragedy.

At the same time we watch Hannah’s parents (played by Kate Walsh and Brian d’Arcy James) try to continue life without Hannah while also suing her school for failing to prevent the bullying they believe has lead to the loss of their daughter.

I found 13Reasons Why to be a fascinating and sobering watch. There has been a lot of talk about it glamorising suicide but instead I felt like it showed how the small things we do and say can really impact another person and that you don’t know what is really going on in anyone’s internal life. Watching Hannah’s suicide scene was absolutely harrowing and the way it was filmed is definitely devoid of any glamour.

I also thought it really addressed the theme of entitlement around female bodies and rape culture and how easily sexual assaults can take place and victims silenced, even by those who are expected to protect the victims.

The young actors are outstanding in their roles and Langford and Minnette are standouts. Christian Navarro playing Hannah’s “envoy” is also excellent.

There were times I found the pace a little slow and element of the story were very teenage focused, which left me a little out of the loop but I loved the 80’s inspired soundtrack.

I would highly recommend 13 Reasons Why to anyone looking for a challenging but rewarding watch that features complex characters and a compelling mystery.

4/5

4 Comments

  1. This sounds both powerful and challenging, Abbi. I don’t have Netflix, so hope it may transfer to mainstream TV at some stage.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    1. It’s a Netflix exclusive so I think unfortunately it is unlikely. They are making more and more of their own shows now.

  2. Nice write up! This has been on my watch list for months. Eventually I will have to get to it !

    1. I think you’d really enjoy it… although maybe enjoy is not the right word.

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