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A Dangerous Method (2011)

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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 64,163 users   Metascore: 76/100
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A look at how the intense relationship between Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud gives birth to psychoanalysis.

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 17 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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...
...
...
...
André Hennicke ...
Professor Eugen Bleuler (as André M. Hennicke)
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Sándor Ferenczi
Mignon Remé ...
Jung's Secretary
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Food Nurse
Franziska Arndt ...
Bath Nurse
Wladimir Matuchin ...
...
Medical Policeman
Anna Thalbach ...
Bathtub Patient
Sarah Marecek ...
Orchard Nurse
Bjorn Geske ...
Orderly (as Björn Geske)
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Storyline

Suffering from hysteria, Sabina Spielrein is hospitalized under the care of Dr. Carl Jung who has begun using Dr. Sigmund Freud's talking cure with some of his patients. Spielrain's psychological problems are deeply rooted in her childhood and violent father. She is highly intelligent however and hopes to be a doctor, eventually becoming a psychiatrist in her own right. The married Jung and Spielrein eventually become lovers. Jung and Freud develop an almost father-son relationship with Freud seeing the young Jung as his likely successor as the standard-bearer of his beliefs. A deep rift develops between them when Jung diverges from Freud's belief that while psychoanalysis can reveal the cause of psychological problems it cannot cure the patient. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Why deny what you desire the most. [Scandinavian DVD] See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexual content and brief language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

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Country:

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Release Date:

10 November 2011 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Un método peligroso  »

Box Office

Budget:

€15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$167,953 (USA) (18 November 2011)

Gross:

$5,702,083 (USA) (27 April 2012)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Keira Knightley, at first she didn't know how to play her character's hysteria. When she read some of Spielrein's notes she noticed the woman described her condition as being like "a demon or a dog". Knightley then started to pull faces and contacted David Cronenberg through Skype to show him the results until they both agreed on one. See more »

Goofs

The sailboat that Jung's wife gives him is clearly very modern with Dacron sails, nylon rigging and stainless steel cleats, none of which existed at the time. See more »

Quotes

Otto Gross: It seems to me the measure of the true perversity of the human race, that one of its very few reliably pleasurable activities should be the subject of so much hysteria and repression.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Maltin on Movies: The Muppets (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Excerpts from Siegfried
by Richard Wagner, original publication by Schott Music GmbH & Co KG, Mainz, Germany, 1876.
Adapted by Howard Shore, published by South Fifth Avenue Publishing, 2010.
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User Reviews

 
Method and Madness
27 November 2011 | by (Italy) – See all my reviews

Given his entire filmography is concerned with themes linked to man's identity and the complexities of human sexuality, David Cronenberg is, on paper at least, the ideal director for A Dangerous Method, a movie dealing with the birth of psychoanalysis. Then again, the film is also a bit of an odd fit for him, since the script by Christopher Hampton (Dangerous Liaisons) doesn't really lend itself to the outbursts of graphic violence that permeate the Canadian auteur's body of work. The result, first witnessed at the Venice Film Festival (after the film had allegedly been rejected by Cronenberg's fest of choice, Cannes), is an interesting but somewhat hollow entry in the director's admirable career.

Ostensibly about the professional relationship between Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen) and Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender), A Dangerous Method is in reality more concerned with the bond between Jung and Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley), a young woman sent to his clinic in Zurich since her mental condition is an ideal subject for his research. Sabina, it turns out, is incredibly well-read, and soon progresses from patient to assistant, much to the amusement of Freud, who corresponds regularly with Jung about their mutual scientific interests and also meets the young woman on a few occasions. The relationship between the three evolves in even stranger ways as time passes, with Sabina taking an unexpected place in Jung's heart...

With its combination of psychoanalysis and sex, the story - perhaps familiar to European film buffs thanks to Roberto Faenza's Italian-language take on the same subject - has all the right characteristics to be vintage Cronenberg (hints of which are offered in the opening and closing credits via Howard Shore's music). And yet there's something missing: whereas the reconstruction of Vienna in the early 20th century is impeccable, the director appears to be less interested in the actual development of story and character, with a rather detached approach that suggests he's almost working on autopilot. That having said, part of the blame can be laid on Hampton, whose screenplay only glosses over key details of the story, leaving us with a quite simplified, "safe" version of events (the sex is unusually tame and unchallenging for a Cronenberg film).

The performances are a mixed bag as well: Knightley, stuck with the showy role, is unbearably OTT in the first 30 minutes, shouting and shaking endlessly before she eventually tones down the mania and focuses on finding the character, complete with a solid Russian accent. At the other end of the spectrum is Mortensen, pitch-perfect from the start but criminally underused, especially considering his past associations with Cronenberg. And then there's Fassbender, quietly intense and generally up to the task, were it not for his decision to speak RP English when he and Mortensen, who adopts a German accent, are supposed to be from the same country (this is even more perplexing if one thinks of Fassbender's flawless mastery of German).

A Dangerous Method is thus a textbook case of a film that, while not disappointing in the strict sense of the word, comes off as a minor effort in a generally spotless filmography. But even on an off-day, Cronenberg deserves to be seen at least once. Just don't expect another History of Violence...

6,5/10


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Message Boards

Recent Posts
Jung was completely sick and insane. ada_rockchick
Keira Knightley is just painful to watch. de-gele
Keira Knightley got robbed by the Oscars Felonious-Punk
Kiera Knightly Ruins the Film endecottp
Keira's hysteric acting is realistic if you're familiar with hysterics nine_dragons
Knightley's performance was mediocre. Anyone else thought so? jessebrenele
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