This pseudobiographical movie depicts five years from 1885 on in the life of the Viennese psychologist Sigmund Freud (1856-1939). At this time, most of his colleagues refuse to cure ... See full summary »
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I haven't seen this since it's release but it made such an impression that it's lasted 20 years. It's superlative TV fare. Of the performers I remember David Suchet as Freud best. We follow him from his professional beginnings to his awful speechless death of oral cancer. The series moves at a slow pace and needs some attention and will profit from some interest in intellectual history on the part of the viewer.
But that's just fine. The pace gives us ample time to follow the ins and outs of Freud's relationship with his colleagues, his wife, and his girl friend. (A comfortable menage a trois, there, involving his wife's sister.)
And of course we have time to see the not-so-slow deterioration in his friendships, beginning with Adler, and his insane friendship with Fliess, the doctor who believed that the nose was the seat of the soul. Man, was he hung up on noses. He blew one or two simple operations on noses and Freud covered for him, but I can't remember if that's in this series. (That Fliess "blew" a couple of surgeries on noses is a kind of, well, a kind of play on words.)
Some new material about Himself (mostly negative) has appeared since this series was put together, but we pretty much get Freud, warts and all, in this series. Freud faints in public (twice) when his disagreements with Jung surface. Jung was also a psychotic, in the literal sense, later in life, but this isn't Jung's story.
If you have the time and interest in much of what passes for our understanding of human nature today, even to the extent that Freud provides a convenient bad example, you shouldn't miss this. Warts or no warts, Freud lay the foundations of our conception of who we are in the 19th century, and is up there in the pantheon alongside Marx and Darwin.
A minor observation: Near the beginning, Freud enthusiastically tells his friend that he's tested cocaine as a cure for seasickness on the ferris wheel in the Prater, Vienna's public park. That wheel was erected in 1897, and it's the wheel on which Holly Martins and Harry Lime take a ride in "The Third Man."
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