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Hysteria? Hysterical! Oh my goodness - I have not laughed out loud so much at a film in the cinema for such a long time. It was loads of fun, very naughty and a total must see!
Hysteria Film Review
Based on true events (yes, really), it is set in London in 1880, and follows the story of Dr Mortimer Granville, a cutting-edge young, and rather handsome, doctor (played by the charming Hugh Dancy) as he is fired from job after job for his radical beliefs - he believes that germs exists and champions cleanliness as an aid to curing (it will never catch on).
After his latest job comes to an abrupt end and he is turned away from pretty much every other job in London.He ends up agreeing to work for a society doctor Robert Dalrymple (played by Jonathan Pryce) who is a specialist in "hysteria" and whose strange methods indirectly lead to the invention of the first vibrator.
It is here he learns of Robert Dalrymple's interesting, and um very hands on approach, to "curing" women of all their many "medical" ailments. He also meets the doctors two very different daughters, one a demure society girl Emily and the other a feisty feminist Charlotte (played by a superb Maggie Gyllenhaal) who runs a women's refuge in East London.
Demand for the dishy doctor becomes so great that he starts to get a kind of "repetitive strain injury" and can no longer "perform" to a high enough standard. Luckily for him, his eccentric friend Edmund St. John-Smythe (played by the wickedly funny Rupert Everett), has been working on an invention that could just be the answer to his (and many many women's) prayers.
It is witty, charming and romantic, which given the subject matter is quite an accomplishment. Largely down to the brilliant script, wonderful cast and authentic set and costume this film manages to be a perfect combination of history, laughter and dramatisation. I really didn't stop laughing, gasping or smiling throughout the whole film.
The amusing stuff aside, it's incredible to think that ludicrous medical treatments, such as these, were practised actually not so long ago, and even worse that any women who displayed any sort of emotion other than duty were considered to be "hysterical" and in several cases, were carted off to asylums or worse. Makes you think!!
In summary an excellent offbeat romantic comedy, which is very funny, educational and highly recommended. For me it was 99 minutes very well spent.