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13 Reasons Why: Season One

Review by CJ

Director:
Tom McCarthy, Helen Shaver, Kyle Patrick Alvarez, Gregg Araki, Carl Franklin, Jessica Yu

Writer:
Jay Asher (based on the book by), Brian Yorkey, Diana Son, Thomas Higgins, Nic Sheff, Elizabeth Benjamin, Kirk A. Moore, Hayley Tyler, Nathan Jackson, Nathan Louis Jackson

Starring:
Katherine Langford, Dylan Minnette, Christian Navarro, Brandon Flynn, Miles Heizer, Alisha Boe, Ross Butler, Devin Druid, Michele Selene Ang, Ajiona Alexus, Justin Prentice, Steven Silver, Tommy Dorfman, Derek Luke

Other notable appearances:
Kate Walsh, Brian d’Arcy James, Amy Hargreaves, Josh Hamilton, Jackie Geary, Mark Pellegrino, Robert Gant, Alex Quijano, Cindy Cheung, Joseph C. Phillips, Sosie Bacon, Brandon Larracuente, Steven Weber, Henry Zaga

Running time:
49-61 minutes per episode

Number of episodes:
13

Trigger warning:
Sexual assault, rape, bullying and suicide

 

When Hannah Baker (Langford) takes her own life, she leaves behind tapes telling her story for those who contributed to her decision.

It’s stated in the overview, but I want to reiterate that there are graphic scenes depicting sexual assault, rape and Hannah’s suicide in 13 Reasons Why.

Suffice to say that 13 Reasons Why is a very dark television show that deals with serious issues. It is also a deep look at how many meaningful interactions one person can have throughout a short amount of time. But alongside all of that, it is a hauntingly beautiful and intricate story of despair and hope. There are moments of humour, but they’re bittersweet because the whole time you know the characters are in varying levels and types of pain.

13 Reasons Why is beautifully made. From the tight editing to the light and makeup effects that show the difference between life before and after Hannah’s death to the soundtrack that is perfectly fitting. Watching 13 Reasons Why you can tell a lot of thought has gone into bringing the story to the screen.

The actors all perform their roles remarkably. There is a lot of teen melodrama in amongst (and a cause of) the very heavy subject matter but all of the main actors have done a great job within their individual roles. This is especially true of Katherine Langford who, in her portrayal of Hannah, demonstrates a wide range of emotions with skill.

My only critique of 13 Reasons Why is the ending. Without giving spoilers, there are new plot points that feel shoved into the last episode so that a second season can be made. Meanwhile, many main plot points of season one don’t feel like they have a real conclusion. The extension into a second season and the cliffhangers at the end of the first season don’t match the precision shown in the rest of the season.

Aside from the disappointing end, 13 Reasons Why is a precise and beautifully made series that gives Greek tragedies of yore a run for their money. Though, at the risk of sounding like a television disclaimer, viewer discretion is strongly advised and parental guidance highly recommended for younger viewers.

If you are troubled by 13 Reasons Why or need support, see your doctor or head to http://13reasonswhy.info for resources in your country.

Rating:

“You can’t know rumours. You can hear them, but you can’t know them.”

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