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“Settle in because I’m about to tell you the story of my life. More specifically, why my life ended. And if you’re listening to this tape, you’re one of the reasons why.” These are the first few words of Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford), the main character of the new Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why. A few words that set the tone for the 13 episodes of the adaptation of the 2007 bestselling book with the same name by Jay Asher.
13 Reasons Why follows high school student Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette) as he returns home from school to find a mysterious box under his porch. In the box? 13 tapes and a map left behind by his classmate, best friend and secret crush, Hannah, who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Each tape is dedicated to one person who’s somehow led the teenager to kill herself.
Directed by Oscar winner Tom McCarthy (Spotlight), written by Tony and Pulitzer winner Brian Yorkey (Next to Normal), the series was also executive produced by Selena Gomez, known for having struggled with her mental health and now for being an advocate and spokesperson on this topic.
To me, there are 13 reasons why this new show is an important watch.
Number #1: It withholds a strong message against cyber-bullying, as it shows the repercussions of social media and the misuse of technology.
Number #2: It highlights feelings of hopelessness and describes how depression engulfs someone in an endless and inescapable whirlwind of real-life nightmares.
Number #3: It underlines what it’s like to have people judge and shows that the look of others can be extremely harmful – no matter the age or maturity.
Number #4: It shows that the accumulation of the smallest things is often what leads to a very deep and overwhelming feeling of despair. It shows that every single thing and person, no matter what they did – big or small – can lead someone to do something like end their own life. “Everyone is just so nice until they drive you to kill yourself,” Clay yells at others in the high school hallway.
Number #5: It shows that a cry for help isn’t always obvious.
Number #6: It’s very raw and doesn’t shy away from the very uncomfortable, making it all very real and important.
Number #7: It’s honest.
Number #8: It tackles extremely relevant societal issues like sexism and slut shaming, and proves once more how women don’t have it easy.
Number #9: It’s not just a show for and about teenagers. It is for and about everyone.
Number #10: It reminds its audience that suicide should never be an option, but unfortunately still is one to some. “Some of you cared. None of you cared enough.” Hannah records on her last tape.
Number #11: It’s real in showing how therapists sometimes fail to recognise someone in an immediate crisis.
Number #12: It praises the importance of having an excellent support system to be able to heal, and that sometimes, all one needs for another day, is someone to show they care enough. “Hannah. I’m not going. Not now. Not ever.” Clay says imagining the alternative path he could have taken – “why didn’t you say this to me when I was alive?” Hannah replies.
Number #13: Its soundtrack is a killer.
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Read the piece on The Mighty: https://themighty.com/2017/04/13-reasons-why-netflix-important-watch/
Check out my The Mighty profile: https://themighty.com/author/marie-dubreuil/