Director Volker Schlondorff and screenwriter Harold Pinter have adapted Margaret Atwood's much-admired feminist novel about the status of women in the not-so-distant future with little subtlety. Heavy-handed and literal-minded, THE HANDMAID'S TALE spins serious themes all over the screen
without managing to create engrossing drama from them. As the film opens, Kate (Natasha Richardson), with her husband and child, is trying to escape a totalitarian state by crossing its heavily guarded border. The trio are spotted by the police, the husband is shot, the child is left to wander,
and Kate is sent to a government facility. In the film's polluted, war-devastated future...