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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
Both Jung (Fassbender) and Freud(Mortensen) speak in refined English accents throughout. It is however very clear that English stands in for German, thus each character is assumed to be speaking highly educated German. Jung notes that Spielrein (Knightley) speaks fluent German, albeit with an accent; and indeed Knightley speaks with a Russian accent in the role. Other characters, however, are often found to speak with German accents for some reason, which should be utterly unnecessary if English serves as the stand-in for German. See more »
Sincere Effort, But the Cake Was Left Out in the Rain
What was the source of conflict which caused a gulf to form between Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung? When we examine their personal and professional lives, what turning points shaped their theories? What were the storms which blew through the lives of Jung and Sabina Spielrein? These are some of the questions this film attempts to highlight, and in fact begins to touch upon.
Some of the most scintillating moments of "A Dangerous Method" are sexually bracing. But the audience is left feeling a bit orphaned. Do these carnal scenes truly address the significant thematic questions?
Here's my main beef with this film: I wanted to see more time spent on the rigorous conflict between Freud and Jung. I have a sincere interest in the life of Carl Jung, but in the end, I was not sufficiently satisfied. Having said that, the production design, scenery, and costuming were absolutely wonderful.
The somber, instinctual undercurrents of "A Dangerous Method" can be a bit hypnotic. But because the script suffers, I cannot fully come under its spell. As the rolling credits came up, I personally felt a bit deflated, as if a sweet was torn from my curious grasp. Although I think most films would do well with a tighter edit, this movie could have used an additional 30 minutes of character and plot development.
I appreciated the qualities which Fassbender brought to Carl Jung. Vincent Cassel was right on the mark as the impulsive Otto Gross. Jung's insecure wife Emma was tenderly portrayed by Sarah Gadon.
Although Keira Knightley tried her best to portray Sabina Spielrein, there were certain scenes where her delivery seemed pushed. I have long respected Viggo Mortensen, but I was not fully convinced by his affected portrayal of Freud.
So, who would I cast as Sabina? Emily Mortimer, Helena Bonham Carter, or Rachel Weisz come to mind. And how about the part of Freud? Ben Kingsley, Dustin Hoffman, or Geoffrey Rush could have added a riveting twist to this role.
Is there a doctor in the house? I will leave that for you to decide.
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