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
The apocalyptic dream, described by Jung may refer to the beginning of World War I (1914-1918). During World War I Jung was drafted as an army doctor and soon made commandant of an internment camp for British officers and soldiers. Swiss neutrality obliged the Swiss to intern personnel from either side of the conflict who crossed their frontier to evade capture. Jung worked to improve the conditions for these soldiers stranded in neutral territory; he encouraged them to attend university courses. See more »
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 »
I must admit, going into this film, I was rather excited; I've enjoyed both of David Cronenberg and Viggo Mortensen's previous collaborations and my interest in both Freudian psychology/psychoanalysis and Michael Fassbender practically guaranteed that I would be seeing this film. I fear now, however, that my expectations may have been a bit too high.
I must admit, however, that I thought that Michael Fassbender and Viggo Mortensen played their roles very well, although Mortensen definitely didn't receive as much screen time as he deserved. Vincent Cassel definitely shone in his extended cameo as Otto Gross. I did have some issues with Keira Knightly's acting, however. I feel like she may have over exaggerated her actions, particularly in the beginning scenes where she is in the midst of hysteria.
However, my real problem with this film is that, for lack of a better term, it all seems a little too shallow. Events that should be important are skimmed over and not explained; to be honest, it doesn't particularly seem like anything of real importance happens in the film. The characters have little depth; despite the fact that they are all playing rather well known persons, there simply isn't anything to them other than a name. On top of this, despite what the taglines of the film and trailer seem to suggest, the relationship between Freud and Jung is hardly explored. For the most part, their scenes involve reading letters from the other. This is hardly compelling viewing.
Overall, I feel like this film would have been better if it had been longer. If the film had a running time of even two hours, compared to one and a half, more character development could have been inserted, particularly for Freud. In addition, more focus on Jung's relationship with Freud, rather than his relationship with Spielrein, would have been nice to see.
Here's hoping that any future collaborations between Cronenberg and Mortensen pack a bit more of a punch.
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