Critic Reviews



Based on 33 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
Whenever Rupert Everett appears as a rich fellow who distinctly does not fancy ladies, it's a hysterical history lesson of the hilarious variety.
Hysteria, is a pleasurable diversion, even if it could have used a touch more spark in the writing.
The picture is at least spirited, a jaunty trifle that's low on eroticism but high on cartoony coquettishness. Like the little motorized whatsit that is its subject, it does have its charms.
Slant Magazine
Hysteria's happy ending isn't the type that calls for a cigarette, and it certainly isn't the one the film deserves.
Hysteria's "hook" is that it chronicles the development of one of the 20th century's most popular home appliances: the vibrator. However, although the details surrounding the deplorable state of women's medicine during the Victorian era are intriguing, the central story - a romantic comedy between a progressive woman and a forward-thinking doctor - is flaccid.
Boxoffice Magazine
Though the film is a fairly plastic British period piece with all the intimacy of a Hitachi Wand, the script captures some delicate and intelligent facets of a tensely conflicted era.
While a delicate topic would seem to require a delicate touch, Wexler goes more for cheeky entertainment. To some degree, it works.
Dancy manages a few sly moments, and Everett is as ever a scene-stealer, if barely recognizable under a beard and altered features, and with a raspy voice. But the estimable Pryce and Jones are wasted, along with many other fine thesps, while Gyllenhaal works too gratingly hard in an already strained role.
There's nothing strictly wrong with any of this, except for the fact that even a buttoned-down period piece like "Topsy-Turvy" feels sexier.
Village Voice
Proceeds as a tedious, clumsy diddle, constantly reminding viewers how much progress has been made since the Victorian era.

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