Review – 13 Reasons Why

Hi, it’s Hannah. Hannah Baker. Don’t adjust your – whatever device you’re hearing this on.

From tape 1, side A, 13 Reasons Why sends the viewer on an emotionally impacting journey that they won’t soon forget. It follows Clay Jensen after he finds a set of tapes at his door once belonging to his crush, Hannah Baker. Each one of these tapes depicts a reason why she took her own life.

It truly is a heartbreaking masterpiece, both with its story and visuals. So, to keep my thoughts organised, here are thirteen reasons why you should watch this show.

  1. It Ignites Conversation

This show is the type you can’t watch without having someone discuss it with. You’ll want to talk about the characters, the story, and the visuals, but more importantly you’ll find yourself discussing bullying. And that’s a huge area where this series succeeds, because if we can recognise those moments where we, or others, were bullied than we can better face it next time. Or better yet, never see it happen again.

  1. The Realness of the Bullying

This series shows more than the usual physical bullying seen in high school dramas. 13 Reasons Why has realised, and perfectly represented, that there are many layers of bullying. The peer pressure, ostracising, and slut shaming are just some. But none of these feel extravagant or over dramatized; they feel like they could happen.

  1. Its Emphasis on Consent

Consent is often over complicated within television shows, especially when characters seem to just ‘know’ that the other is in consenting. But it can be as simple as asking ‘Is this ok?’, and having this promoted on such a well-received series is a fantastic thing.

  1. Its Positive Portrayal of Parents

More often than not, parents in teenage dramas are perceived as ‘out of touch’, controlling, or even uninterested with their children. 13 Reasons Why has taken care to show their fictional parents in positive lights. Nearly every parent is encouraging and supportive of their children, making their responses to the bullying claims feel more real.

  1. The Cast’s Diversity

What I value most about the cast’s diversity is that their stories don’t centre around their ethnicity. It centres around their character’s personality, in which the audience sees a few high school clichés broken.

  1. The Character Diversity

Yes, we have the usual jock, cheerleader, and nerd but these characters extend further and break the moulds. If I said anymore, that would be spoilers.

  1. The Cast’s Acting Ability

Every character within this series have tremendously difficult moments to portray. Not just as the victims of bullying, but also in being the perpetrators. Katherine Langford, who plays Hannah Baker, is definitely the stand out. Her performance is constantly strong, even to the point it can be terrifying.

  1. Hannah Baker is Australian


  1. The Transitions

I cannot get over how beautiful and smooth the transitions are. For the film-geek out there, the editors have used cuts on action to slide between past and present, and they do so effortlessly.

  1. Its Cleverness in Portraying Past and Present

Which leads into how they keep these timelines from being too confusing. Yes, it can be disorientating at times, but the editors have cleverly given the past a summery glow and the present a heavy blue tinge. What’s more, they’ve included a nasty headwound on Clay in the present time so the viewers better know which time they’re in.

  1. Its Boldness

13 Reasons Why isn’t emotionally heavy just because of its themes, but also because of what it shows. Closer to the end of the series, you can expect to see warnings before each episode, and for good reason. The director and writers haven’t shied away from showing how ugly the world can be. And it is uncomfortable, you feel sick for the characters. But the moments haven’t been glorified or rushed through. They have been made wisely and truly hit the shows themes.

  1. Its Loose Ends

I’ve come to accept, and even like, the series finale. It’s very reflective of life, and if I gave anymore it would be spoilers.

  1. Its lingering effect

It’s not every day that you come across a series that follows you like a dark cloud. Each moment is heavy with importance, and the characters have you cheering and hating them. You don’t want, but need justice for the characters, and it seriously makes you consider your time in high school.

And I hope this show lingers. I hope this show reminds us to help those who are hurting. In turn, I hope this show creates more safe places for those seeking help.

You can watch 13 Reasons Why on Netflix now.

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