By Gustavo Buenrostro
Netflix original content hits another homerun with “13 Reasons why,” a dark, brilliante, told adaptation with fantastic performances.
The show is about the aftermath of the suicide of high school student Hannah Baker, played by Katherine Langford.
The story follows Clay Jensen, played by Dylan Minnette, who had feelings for Hannah and discovers that she left cassette tapes behind explaining why she decided to commit suicide.
The 13 reasons are tapes highlights each person Hannah believes contributed to her decision. There are many shows set in a high school but they usually don’t feel in touch with what’s going on in high school.
It always feels cliche. As the show progresses more, “13 Reasons Why” not only feels accurate to high school but genuine with it’s portrayal of it. It needs it for the show to work as well as it does.
It introduces several characters that the audience can see as typical in a high school setting, but with each episode and each person being in the spotlight, the layers of these characters start to show more.
The characters that are mean and hurtful have a reason to behave that way. The show not only relies on the setting, but also the narrator is Hannah Baker.
Langford does an amazing job at portraying her feelings not only through the voice over narration, but the flashback sequences as well.
She portrays the pain of being targeted by her peers extraordinarily well not only through the dialogue but through her facial expressions.
The character is easy to sympathize with because it is her story, but what the show is not afraid to do is make Hannah an unreliable narrator.
There is something she describes that happens, and is later proved not to have happened the way she described it, that makes the audience wonder what else she lies about in the tapes.
Many of the transitions between the present and flashbacks are done smoothly, with visuals and lightening contributing to it. Minnette also does a fantastic job portraying an antisocial teen who is trying to better himself.
The best thing about this show is the message that it is trying to send. The things that Hannah latches on to range from small actions to large actions that are done to her by other characters.
What the show is saying is that actions have consequences and people should be more empathetic of the people around them. This is the point of the whole show and what the audience sees is the results of that lack of empathy and the fall-out of it.
The show not only focuses on the teens in school, but also the adults. Hannah’s parents are dealing with death of their daughter and a subplot involving them and the school that does not really get resolved by the end of the season.
But we see their feelings and the unresolved issues between each other the boils up to the surface. The tone of the show is very dark and there are three episodes in the season where is becomes difficult to watch.
There are even warnings at the start of the episode that say that this episode is not for the faint of heart.
The scene that was the most difficult to watch was the suicide scene where Hannah kills herself. The camera does not cut away.
Hannah is the center of the screen. In the end, the show surprisingly well thought-out and well executed.
The show is relatable because most people that have gone through high school will see that many of the characters in the show remind them of someone they knew.
It sends a good message to anyone who watches it and it will shed light on something they thought they understood