13 Reasons Why Review

Reviewed By Justin D Williams

13 Reasons Why, based on the bestselling books by Jay Asher, follows teenager Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette) as he returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers a group of cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford) his classmate and crush who tragically committed suicide two weeks earlier. On tape, Hannah unfolds an emotional audio diary, detailing the thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life.

If there is a show that you need to watch, out of all the Netflix original series this is the one to watch. 13 Reasons Why, is a breath of fresh air bringing in an injection of realism and social commentary needed at the right time. This show is an emotional ride that everyone especially parents need to watch with their kids. The show touches on various topics such as bullying, suicide and one topic I won’t discuss due to spoilers. It is in your face and at times uncomfortable but it is a story that needs to be told. Everyone on this project deserves to be applauded from the actors, the directors, producers, cameramen etc. As stated in the synopsis the story follows Clay Jensen, as he listens to a series of tapes left by his crush Hannah detailing the reasons why she killed herself. For the sake of spoilers I won’t even mention one reason why.  I will say that her reasons are a doozey. What I really loved about the show is the build up to Hannah’s death, it’s also how her actions effects everyone around her.

This show greatly displays how someone committing suicide impacts friends, family and even their enemies. Throughout the story Clay is constantly wondering am I the reason she killed herself. There is this sense of guilt and questioning of what could I have done to prevent this. This is a show that you don’t need to binge in one sitting. Instead I recommend that you watch an episode a day or even once a week to let it sink in. The show is very emotion heavy and this is a show I think parents need to watch with their teenagers. In this fast growing world where everything is online and not kept in the dark, things are easy to access this will be a subject matter to really sit down and discuss as a family. The characters in the story all work well. Since this does take place in high school you do get the typical cliché archetypes that you usually see in high school. You have the popular jocks in Justin, Marcus and Zach of course these three end up being bad news. Then there is the cheerleader Jessica who plays a major role in Hannah’s psyche. I really love Jessica’s arc its starts off innocent then gets dark towards the end.  There is this dynamic I couldn’t help but notice that in some ways Hannah and Jessica were the same. Only difference was that Hannah choose a different way of doing things. Overall the story is spot on target. It’s moving, engaging and there is a lot to discuss after the final credits roll.

The acting on the show is really good. Katherine Langford and Dylan Minnette are absolutely fantastic as the leads. Katherine Langford really hits home with her performance as Hannah.  She hits all the right emotional notes when it’s time and when that fateful does come you will have tears in your eyes. Hannah is very likable and credit goes to Katherine Langford’s acting. Dylan Minnette as Clay is the heart of the show. He brings this innocence to the character and gives him a genuine everyday good guy. It’s very hard not to like Clay. At times he can be socially awkward and usually flies under the radar of other students until he discover the tapes. Dylan Minnette shows a vulnerability in his performance which makes you hope that Clay is a not a reason Hannah killed herself. The character had great development which I think audiences will love. The supporting cast does well

13 Reasons Why is truly a show you need to see and discuss with friends and family on how we can prevent these events from happening. The show delivers on great commentary on bullying, suicide amongst other topics. The musical score is just right and fits the dark tone of the show. Get the soundtrack! See the show! Discuss it with your kids!

Final Rating – 5/5 Stars