I am pretty sure you have heard everyone raving over the series ’13 Reasons Why’ on Netflix and so I thought I would do a review post and give my opinions. I read the book for this years ago – honestly it seems like forever ago so I was so excited to hear about the release of this series. However, I was also a bit sceptical about watching it because I really wanted the series to do the book justice because it is phenomenal. Therefore, I was a little bit unsure whether to even watch it even though I was so excited when it was released. Instead I chose to hold off a bit and let the hype die down and read some reviews about it before I watched it.
So eventually, I obviously watched the series, hence why I am writing the review. Now I am not going to lie, I actually watched the whole season in one day. I just got completely hooked and after watching one episode I was so intrigued to see how well they were going to match the plot to the book which is obviously what the whole season is based on.
For me personally I have very mixed opinions and feelings about the show. I did like the show and it so incredibly emotive and powerful and the message through the programme is an obvious one which is so important and one which needs sharing. Teenage suicide rates increase every year but underneath that there are so many people with mental illnesses or people who are going through difficult situations and times and don’t really know who to turn to. As someone is has completed school I know how pressuring the school environment can be and sometimes it can be so suffocating and it can make dealing with your problems so much worse, especially, if like me, you unfortunately get bullied. School is hard and there are definitely some challenging life situations which will happen but I urge anyone who is feeling trapped, lonely, depressed, sad, scared, worried, down, isolated or any other feeling to find the confidence to speak about that problem. Please find someone you feel you can trust to share your problems with because people do care and people will help. I can’t imagine losing someone close to you by suicide – it would be devastating. I can’t even begin to imagine feeling how those people must feel. Seriously, people may not know what you are feeling because not everyone has the same situation but there are people out there who listen and help you. There are so many charities and helplines with people who are willing to spend all the time necessary to help turn your problems around. Please don’t feel alone or just find that courage to talk about it because it really does help and no one is going to judge you – remember that. Those that care won’t judge you. They will just want what is best for you and will try and help you no matter what.
So obviously, the story of this series and the message in the programme lies close to my heart. I suffered from some pretty severe bullying at school, I mean some stages were a lot worse from others but nevertheless I can relate to the isolation and loneliness anyone who is bullied feels. What is more, a couple of years ago I use to a friend who self harmed and was having a hard time and it was so hard to know she felt the need to put herself in that position because of the pain others were causing her. It was devastating. It’s hard to imagine just how down and lonely she must have felt to do something like that. Luckily my friend got the help she needed and now she is in a so much better place but I just don’t know how I would live with myself knowing I had been that cruel and hurtful to someone else to make them feel that much pain and that is such a powerful and emotive message which is portrayed through the series.
The series does really capture the heart-breaking and hard-hitting consequences of what your words can do and mean to someone else. You don’t even realise the impact your words have or the consequence of your actions, but they are real and things like this do happen and issues within society will never improve unless we collectively learn to respect and appreciate people’s differences and just treat each other better. I do believe this film does emotively capture the worst of bullying and just how much you can affect a person’s life from something so little and something you may perceive to be a joke or a prank. Not everyone feels the same and it’s important for us to remember that and respect that not everyone has the same sense of humour and thus could find it offensive.
13 Reasons Why is definitely a profoundly moving and equally devastating story of a teenage suicide and there is no denying that. I am going to warn that this most certainly is not the easiest of programmes to watch, in fact I wish through some episodes that I had watched it with someone else. Some scenes are very graphical and could potentially be very damaging and scarring and I did want to make a point of that in the review because I, for one, did not expect the scenes to be as graphical as they were. They were hard to watch and offered a lot more than I thought would be shown personally.
Another positive from the show is that it has provided a substantial platform and attention to these common issues within society. It really has brought to light the issue of bullying, rape and suicide. Although, we are all very aware of these matters, there is definitely a huge focus on them in the mainstream media. In some ways, has heart-wrenching and difficult it is to watch this series I would urge people to watch purely because of the awareness it raises. From the release of this programme there has been heaps of media attention on the programme and thus the issues of bullying, rape and suicide and become more prevalent in mainstream media. We all know those issues are there but if we aren’t willing to discuss them and talk about them then no measures will ever be taken to improve these issues. Therefore, I am so glad that this programme has encouraged a discussion and thinking points on these very dangerous issues.
However, I do have a few issues with the programme if I am honest. Some things just really frustrated me. One of the main Character’s Hannah Baker was my first issue with the programme. At times, I really did not think she was portrayed like the book. I did towards the end, find it increasingly difficult to listen to some of her speeches. I am not denying that through the story she most certainly has reasons to be sad, angry and lost for words, for example when he was raped and I would have no idea how I would react if I was sexually assaulted. It must be one of the most traumatising experiences. However, I do feel like she is over-dramatic at points and certainly very selfish. She always believed people had some sort of ulterior motive and pushed people away. For me, just was a very unlikable character with the wrong attitude.
My second issue to do with Hannah is a point in general. They appear to make Hannah out to be the victim and as if she never did anything wrong. Don’t get me wrong she was the victim in some cases but Hannah too, just like everyone was not innocent and she pushed away people, was selfish and should have taken more responsibility for her actions. Hannah was the victim is many cases,there is certainly no denying that, but she too was guilty of contributing to drama in that school. I think it is unfair to glorify Hannah in this light where she didn’t ever do anything wrong because I think she too let people down as much as people let her down.
My next issue is the ending. It comes to no real conclusions for anyone. At the very beginning of the programme, we are all aware of where the story is leading and that she inevitably going to commits suicide. She lists the reasons why but the ending doesn’t bring around conclusions. I personally feel that is fails to portray the other character’s sadness, distress at what the tapes would have done to them. I am pretty sure they would have caused some sort of problems for the children and more emotion on their behalf would have been better. Portraying their realisation of what their actions have done further would have enhanced the story. Also, one thing that I have always been confused about is the use of Clay on the tapes. He never did anything wrong to Hannah. He was always there for her, loved her and she pushed him away. Even after he death he is the only one who is determined to get justice for Hannah’s death and raise awareness for what has happened. It is him who wants to help everyone and I just find putting him through the tapes harsh. To make him feel so guilty and put him through all that pain when he really cared seems rather harsh to me but obviously that isn’t a criticism of the series but more of the storyline in general.
Lastly, Tony’s character is a little strange. I am not even sure why Hannah feels the need to include him in the tapes. It just doesn’t seem to fit in with the story because he doesn’t have a connection with Hannah except he lends her a tape recorder. In the nest series, as I am sure they have confirmed that there will be a second series I would like to see more conclusions. I would like to see the characters off the tapes take responsibility and I would like to show people how to move on from an incident like this. I would like the series to focus on rehabilitating the character’s and helping them move on whilst still teaching a very valuable lesson. I would like for them to go in direction which helps find justice and peace for everyone.
Overall, I thought the series was okay. I think the message it is trying to communicate is so important. I am not it was executed in the best possible way. I am sure that is a criticism of the plot in general. I definitely understand the use of tapes was the only way for them to get to hear Hannah’s story from her perspective and for them to find out what they had done but I think if that actually happened that would be unimaginable. How anyone would ever be able to move on from the grief and pain of hearing tapes is beyond me. I am so glad that is has brought attention to these topics because they are so important and they are fundamental issues within society and I personally feel issues such as bullying, rape and assault need taking more seriously. It does happen. It happens so frequently and it isn’t okay and there does need to be more help and support networks and procedures in place to help the victims. It is real and people do need to speak up!
Thank you for reading and let me know your opinions on the season if you have seen it yourself. Also, just remember you aren’t alone and there are always people there to listen and help. I am for one! I have definitely had my fair share of very difficult and challenging situations but they make you stronger and with the right help, support network and confidence to speak about the issues. Things will get better. Life gets better and things do improve. I know this first-hand. Much love forever and always,