13 Reasons Why is a recently launched Netflix series based on a novel which has caused controversy on social media. It’s the story of a high school student, Hannah Baker, who takes her own life in the midst of suffering.
Before her death she records herself on thirteen different tapes explaining the thirteen reasons why she ended her life. The series follows her family, friends and classmates as they come to terms with her death, and the events that drove her to suicide.
WARNING THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS.
- Some episodes, particularly series 1 episode 13, contains scenes of sexual assault which may cause upset. But this is reality, it happens, and although graphic, we got a full insight into how events such as these can damage the victim. Although hard to watch, it sends a message to viewers that they are not alone.
- Everyone has secrets. As much as we like to live in a world where everyone is as they seem, not everyone is. In 13 reasons why most of the main characters had secrets that contributed to Hannah’s suicide. These are what she discusses in her tapes. There are many ways in which the show ‘keeps it real’ and this is just one. Nearly everyone has something they don’t want anyone else to know.
- In this day and age, there are a wide variety of family types and dynamics. 13 reasons why gives us a huge insight into quite how different each family can be. From single parent families, families where the biological parents are together, step-families and even families dealing with parental drug addiction, we get to see how each dynamic impacts children/teenagers.
- High school is tough, there’s no denying that. Often in the media cliques and hierarchies are sugar-coated. In 13 reasons why the stark difference between friendship groups and cliques is displayed. Issues like those portrayed in the show happen in nearly every high school. These issues affect teenagers massively and I think this aspect of the show was handled particularly well.
- SPOILER ALERT!! Sad but true. Sometimes people don’t face the consequences of their actions. Despite Hannah’s rape being revealed in series 2, the perpetrator, Bryce, doesn’t reap any repercussions. This is something that has angered many viewers and has been widely discussed in the media. I said in point 2 that 13 reasons why ‘keeps it real’ and the sad truth is that sometimes criminals do escape charges, especially in cases such as this.
- At the beginning and end of every episode, warning messages are displayed. These messages advice viewers on where to get help if they are facing difficulties and warn viewers of any graphic content within an episode.
- 13 reasons why teaches us how to pick up on warning signs from others, even if we aren’t victims ourselves. All to often teenagers suffer in silence, but if just one friend notices signs of vulnerability, they have the tools to offer support.
- Instead of the usual suicide note, Hannah left a series of tapes. Throughout series 1, we are shown the events leading up to her death with the contents of the tape providing an eery voiceover. The tapes are passed between a list of people provided by Hannah before her death, all of whom played a part in her demise. I think the use of tapes and hearing Hannah’s voice even after her death has a much bigger impact on the other characters than a letter ever would. In Hannah’s voice we, and they, hear her pain. It’s powerful and sometimes hard to hear. But we need to hear it. We need to be made aware of the issues many face in real life.
- Hannah Baker was just your ordinary girl. Not anyone particularly special, just a girl tying to get through each day despite the challenges she faced. Isn’t that what we all do at some point in our lives?
- 13 reasons why is full of suspense and mystery which keeps us engaged. We want to know what happens next so we continue watching. Whilst doing so our eyes are opened to the impact of bullying, mental health issues and sexual assault amongst other hard-hitting topics.
- Katherine Langford who plays Hannah Baker portrayed her characters struggles phenomenally well. It was an incredibly tough role to play. She broke our hearts, she did her job perfectly.
- Dylan Minnette who plays Clay Jensen also did a fantastic job of portraying the various sides to his character.
- The soundtrack includes the likes of Joy Division and is truly brilliant.