There's nothing quite like The Handmaid's Tale when it comes to TV/streaming service shows. It's a subversive venture into an alternate dystopian near future that's all too familiar for the oppressed women of today. Of course, there's no doubt that it's also relevant on top of being an enjoyable and riveting series.
Sadly, it's going to be more or less a year from now before Hulu graces us with another season of The Handmaid's Tales. It's likely that season 4 will premiere on Summer 2020. So to fill in that dystopian void, you might want to check out some of these hauntingly concerning movies that depict what our future would be like if we mess up.
10 THE GIVER
The Giver, like The Handmaid's Tale, was initially an award-winning book. Similarly, it was a fitting material for describing dystopian societies where their so-called leader, the Giver, robbed them of the ability to see colors, emotions, and made them cookie-cutter sheep. The film adaptation of The Giver explores this exact same concept.
As such, you'll find no trouble finding a relatable castrated and oppressive atmosphere here like how it can be felt in each episode of The Handmaid's Tale. Sadly, it didn't get as much renown as its source material since it tried to cash-in on the popularity of Hunger Games movies and felt more like a runner-up or a clone. Nevertheless, it's still worth watching whether you've read the book or not.
9 HUNGER GAMES TRILOGY
Speaking of The Hunger Games, they are also some of the most popular dystopian films in Hollywood that you definitely shouldn't miss. It's also based on the popular book series and has become a household name these days. It throws in a unique twist on the dystopian future by adding reality TV into the mix, albeit a violent and cruel one.
There are also some similarities between the protagonists of The Handmaid's Tale and Hunger Games; both protagonists are strong female characters though Katniss Everdeen is arguably more independent and street smart.
From the same director as famed timeless apartheid analogs such as District 9 comes Elysium, a film where Matt Damon gets into trouble... again (*rolls eyes*). Anyway, like District 9, Elysium explores a nightmarish future for mankind where the divide between the elite and the impoverished has become so grossly disproportionate and disheartening.
Damon plays the main character named Max, a blue-collar worker who decided to bite the bullet and take his chances at gaining passage to the famed Elysium, the haven for the ultra-rich people of Earth who isolated themselves from the poor. It's a lot more action-oriented and sci-fi than most of the films in this list but the dystopia is undeniably present.
7 V FOR VENDETTA
Totalitarian authorities? Check. Tortured female main character? Check. Revolution and rebellion iconography? Check and check. For those reasons, V for Vendetta has become one of the most iconic symbols of subversive movements in the world, we're talking about V's ubiquitous Guy Fawkes mask whom a certain global hacker group decided to idolize, aptly so.
V for Vendetta, however, is mostly a tale of revenge interspersed with concepts of revolt since technically, the people who messed with V are the authorities. Natalie Portman also happens to tag herself along in V's anarchist plots and plans of destabilizing the totalitarian UK government. If you're not aware, this film is just a mere adaptation of Alan Moor's graphic novel of the same name-- and he also happens to dislike the film.
Class or race divide has always been one of the staple themes in dystopian fiction, and you can't really have one without featuring such ideas. In this regard, Gattaca does well with the story. It may not have the feminine star-power of The Handmaid's Tale but it still tackles similar issues about a society which treats other kinds of people as less than human.
In this case, the main character is Vincent (Ethan Hawke) who illegally pursued his dreams of space travel by stealing someone else's superior genes. Turns out Vincent's poor eyesight, heart problems, and low life expectancy rendered him as an "In-Valid," sounds awfully familiar.
5 NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR
Leave to George Orwell to know what the near future holds for humanity if we continue our self-destructive ways. He's the author of the famous dystopian fiction, 1984 and it even got a movie adaptation called Nineteen Eighty-Four released back in... can you guess which year?
It's more like a story based on George Orwell's dystopian world but nevertheless showcases the familiar dysfunctional society Orwell crafted (or predicted). The protagonist, Winston Smith, is played by none other than John Hurt in a society where the notorious and mythical Big Brother watches and controls everything.
4 THE LOBSTER
This is weird one-- a lot weirder than The Handmaid's Tale's premise, that much we can assure you. The Lobster is a dystopic society film where the primary problem is population and individual purpose. Single people are forced to find a mate to marry within the short time span of 45 days.
If they fail, they are to be turned into an animal of their choice. Oh, and masturbation is prohibited but sexual stimulation with the help of a maid is mandatory; it's downright bazinga. The movie then chronicles the placid struggle of David as he tries to find a partner before he gets turned into a lobster, the animal of his choice because they have a long lifespan and because he loves the sea.
If you want a dystopian film which features a society that somehow closely mirrors what we have today, then Snowpiercer will haunt you with its juxtaposition. It's more of a post-apocalypse film where the world turned into a giant freezer and the remaining humans only survived because of a perpetually running train. However, it can still be considered dystopian because society reformed-- only within the train.
The train, for that matter, symbolizes the world where the elite and influential sit comfortably near the train engine while the poor and unfortunate rot at the back. It's up to Curtis (Chris Evans) to stage one of the biggest revolutions ever to topple the seemingly unfair train conductor.
2 INTO THE FOREST
Into the Forest, like Snowpiercer, is more post-apocalypse than dystopia but the apocalypse they experienced here is somewhat softcore. All the world's technology and electrical devices suddenly stopped working and plunged the world back into the stone age. This left two sisters vulnerable and without any resources or means of protecting themselves or surviving.
Take it as your teen dystopian movie, if you will. Somehow, the two sisters managed to find ways to survive by reintegrating themselves back into nature-- far away from the chaos and violent tendencies of men and their hunger for resources. It has one of the closest themes ever to The Handmaid's Tales.
1 CHILDREN OF MEN
Have you ever seen a masterpiece that only occurs once every quarter of a century? Children of Men is one such work of art. It's a portrays a dystopia where no new babies are being born and the world's population is only getting older with no new young people whatsoever... basically like Japan today but on a global scale.
Such a small tweak in the human cycle of life has made some deep repercussions. War was everywhere and the resources and the workforce dwindled as the human race dies a slow death. There's really nothing quite like Children of Men, so do yourself a favor and go see it if you haven't already, even if you're not looking to distract yourself from waiting for The Handmaid's Tale Season 4.