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June 3, 2024 – 4:32 pm | No Comment

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Film Hysteria
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Submitted by MBergeron on May 31, 2024 – 5:39 pmNo Comment

Hysteria is a film that manages to have its cake and eat it too. Here’s a film that appeals to men in the lowest possible manner while appealing to women on the highest plane of pure love.

Much of the first part deals with stogy men making women come by twiddling their clits in a laboratory setting. Meanwhile the latter part of the film shifts the perspective to the lead femme, a firebrand who stirs emotions by confronting the upper classes with the insolvency of the poor. Set in Victorian England (1880s), Hysteria posits that once women were diagnosed as hysteric, one could wind up in a sanitarium with a hysterectomy.

A widowed physician (Jonathan Pryce) treats well-to-do housewives by providing pelvic message to relieve their traveling womb. Odd that an era and country ruled by a queen used such draconian methods to keep the sexes unequal. Such is the spine of Hysteria, which thematically uses Pryce’s daughters to illustrate the demure (Felicity Jones) and the sexy (Maggie Gyllenhaal) nature of women.

Hugh Dancy plays a younger doctor who thinks outside the box while still being a bit of a milquetoast. Dancy rooms with a rich eccentric inventor (Rupert Everett) who dabbles in new fangled technologies like electricity and telephony. Everett has been absent from domestic films for a while and his choice line readings lend Hysteria much of its wit.

Hysteria maintains a tongue-in-cheek humor to the proceedings even while depicting the therapy sessions in all dead seriousness. Gyllenhaal in particular carries the movie with her one-person suffragettism against the system. Actually Gyllenhaal is the only actor in Hysteria who isn’t English, yet her accent is spot on Diana Rigg accurate.

- Michael Bergeron

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