‘13 Reasons’ brings tears and heartache

Sam Malone

While it would be easy to give prospective viewers “13 Reasons Why” they should watch the new Netflix original starring Dylan Minnette and Katherine Langford, the show is compelling enough to only need three: the story, the cast and the cinematography.

Based on Jay Asher’s 2007 young adult novel, the plot of the show hinges on Hannah Baker’s suicide and the mysterious tapes she leaves for those she deems to have contributed to her downward spiral.

As the title would suggest, there are 13 reasons Hannah decided to kill herself. Each reason has a name and a tape that details what went wrong.

Minnette plays Clay Jensen, the show’s protagonist and innocent soul, which prompts curiosity as viewers wonder why he’s on the tapes. Clay loved Hannah, leaving everyone, including himself, puzzled as to how he contributed to her suicide. Minnette’s stellar performance drives the plot forward as binge-watchers tackle episode after episode with hopes of figuring out Clay’s contribution.

The show reveals cruel truths to the way high schoolers, and even those beyond, treat one another. In an epic moment near the season finale, Minnette delivers a driven line declaring that the way we treat one another just isn’t good enough.

Christian Navarro, who plays the mysterious and righteous Tony, contributes to the incredible cast and delivers stunning performances with each appearance. Tony’s character could easily be the most compelling, aside from Hannah’s, as he attempts to juggle Hannah’s wishes and his friendship with Clay. Viewers can never know enough about Tony as they discover mystery after mystery about his character.

If the story and cast aren’t enough to get someone into binge-mode, let’s talk about the cinematography. It doesn’t take a film specialist to pick up on the gorgeous lighting and seamless editing this show carries with it. Pay attention to the way shadows fall slightly on Hannah’s face and how close those close-ups really are between Bryce, played by Justin Prentice, and Jessica, played by Alisha Boe, because each move made by cinematographers Ivan Strasburg and Andrij Parekh has a strong purpose.

“13 Reasons Why” is easily one of the most binge-worthy shows Netflix has brought viewers, and that’s all the reason they should need to pick up the remote and discover reason No. 1 for Hannah Baker’s suicide. Grab some ice cream and tissues because there are 12 more tear-jerking reasons to get through before the night ends.