Friday, June 1, 2012

"Hysteria" - Tanya Wexler (2012)

Imagine my disappointment.
I had high hopes for Tanya Wexler’s “Hysteria.”
I truly wanted to enjoy it.  I wanted it to be funny, insightful or at least entertaining.
Sadly, it was none of these.
“Hysteria” is the story of how the first vibrator was invented.
Sounds like a good premise for a period comedy.

The film centers around Mortimer Granville, a young doctor who comes to work for Dr. Robert Dalrymple who specializes in “female hysteria.”
The cure, of course is for the good doctors to give ladies a “pelvic massage.”
Sounds funny.  It’s not.
The film also goes into the merits of diagnosing women with hysteria.  I had hoped the film might say something insightful about female oppression.  It doesn’t.
It tries haplessly to make some kind of political observation, but any cultural analysis is ham-fisted and obvious.
The cast, including Felicity Jones, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Hugh Dancy, Jonathan Pryce, and Rupert Everett, is competent enough.
But the screenplay for this film is nothing short of abysmal.
The story stops and starts, staggering as it goes along, ineptly changing tones.
But it’s the lack of credibility in the character development that really stands out.
Dr. Robert Dalrymple’s character, played by Jonathan Pryce, is particularly bad.  The script can’t seem to decide if he’s a mentor, a villain, a father figure or a stooge. 
Dr. Dalrymple might just be one of the worst written characters I’ve seen in a film.  For the love of God, skip this movie.  Re-watch “Secretary” instead.

No comments:

Post a Comment