The 18th-century Viennese medical establishment is threatened by the radical yet successful healing methods of Austrian physician Franz Anton Mesmer. Blind pianist Maria Theresa Paradies, daughter of a well-to-do businessman, becomes Mesmer's patient after he calms her seizure at a concert. As the two are drawn into an intimate relationship, the situation is used as an excuse to banish Mesmer from Vienna. Undaunted, he moves on, becoming a court favorite in Paris. Written by
Bhob Stewart <firstname.lastname@example.org>
'Mesmer' is an odd movie. On the face of it you'd think it would work quite well beautiful period setting, interesting character, a score by Michael Nyman and Rickman, who makes a very charismatic lead. Unfortunately it went a bit wrong somewhere down the line and, as others have pointed out, it is quite hard to define where.
For me the two main players of the cast did a great job. Rickman presented Mesmer as charming but complex; Ooms brought plenty of emotion to her role as the blind pianist. Beyond this, however, there seemed little character development not helped by the relatively short runtime.
The plot just seemed...well...dull. There was very little feeling of direction and most of the scenes were very static affairs. There also seemed to be lots of duplication of material as Mesmer treated numerous people in, what looked like, very similar ways. Occasional slapstick moments, one in particular involving a certain throat complaint coming at the end of one of the most absorbing scenes in the movie, somewhat destroyed the tone. Another was a brief appearance of a very caricatured Marie Antoinette. Both seemed rather out of place and had the effect of pushing the extraordinary events of the story into absurdity.
Watch this film for the cast alone. As for the plot: if you know a little about Mesmer before watching you may find it more absorbing but for a novice like me there seemed very little substance beneath that beautiful period setting.
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