13 Reasons Why is the newest Netflix series and an adaptation of the book of the same name. This series had a lot of build up before its release, but the hype after it was dropped was unreal. I’ve never read the book, but I couldn’t wait to give it a go. Taking place after the suicide of Hannah Baker, this immediately sounded like an interesting and poignant show. This is a long review because my feelings are a little mixed, but I’m glad I gave 13 Reasons Why a go, and maybe one day I’ll read Jay Asher’s book too.
I won’t lie and say I was immediately obsessed, binge-watching all 13 episodes in my pyjamas, crying over a bar of chocolate. In fact, I wasn’t overly impressed with the first episode. Or the first few, for that matter. It wasn’t bad, but it didn’t live up to the endless hype on Twitter, either. However, there were enough unanswered questions that I decided to give it a go. I’m a strong believer in watching at least 2 or 3 episodes before judging a show, but I wasn’t hooked until episode 5 with 13 Reasons Why.
So, why did I continue watching for that long? Mental health is still something we need to openly talk about. This show did exactly that and much more. It’s not perfect, but neither is mental health. Not only did this tackle suicide, mental health, and the pressures of being a young adult in modern society… This show maturely tackled sexual assault and rape. And that happens. The filming and depiction of these attacks was gentle and sensitive, but also shocking. It was one of those ‘can’t-watch-but-have-to’ moments. I was stunned into silence, and I truly hope that silence is broken and kids and adults alike are having important conversations because of this show. Of course, not everything in this show was received so well – the depiction of suicide was hit with a huge backlash, and honestly, it was gruesome and so hard to watch so I’m not surprised.
The cinematography perfectly accompanied this story. The mix of present and flashbacks, dark and light, truly portrayed the struggles of mental health and those who are left behind. I won’t give away too much, but the filming and narrative voice complimented the concept, and I really loved it. The casting was also great. I’m always a fan of Netflix originals for finding new and fresh talent, and 13 Reasons Why didn’t disappoint. Most characters were unrecognisable, for me anyway, with this being their first big role. And they handled it so well. As someone on a drama degree at university, I still can’t imagine how the girls and guys, must of whom were my age or younger, filmed some of the scenes their roles demanded. The content was extremely sensitive, and I thought it was handled really well.
The middle few episodes were my favourite as the story unravelled. I was completely hooked by this point and needed to see the remaining reasons. These were the most compelling because of the other characters, which was a shame for Hannah Baker’s story, but there were lots of interesting and real characters involved in her life. I do, however, feel that the ending lacked hope. That is okay, of course. But considering the topic, many endings were left unsolved. I felt that some closure was needed. I personally wanted to know that justice was served and lives were saved. I think you will understand if you’ve watched 13 Reasons Why, too.
Overall, I thought this was an interesting watch and a really mature and sensitive story that should be talked about. It’s worth a watch and I would encourage everyone to persevere through it. That being said, the content was full-on and they didn’t hide it, so please be careful if you have experienced anything in the series or are suffering with your own mental health. And even if you aren’t, be aware. 13 Reasons Why is an interesting story that tackles with real-life issues. The incredible cast are also enough of a reason to watch, and I hope we see them around soon.
Give it a go and see what the fuss is all about. Happy watching!