Hysteria France, Germany, UK 2011 – 100min.
Comedy starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and Hugh Dancy about the invention of the vibrator in Victorian England.
London, 1880: the ambitious young doctor Mortimer Granville (Hugh Dancy) finds a promising job in the noble offices of Dr. Dalrymple (Jonathan Pryce). As a specialist for gynecology, old Dalrymple primarily treats “hysterical” patients from the upper classes. His treatment method, intimate medical massage, is very successful but also extremely strenuous, so Granville turn to Edmund (Rupert Everett), his old friend the inventor, to develop an electrical device to make his work easier. The result is revolutionary...
American director Tanya Wexler’s romantic comedy takes on a charming if somewhat curious chapter in the history of technology. With snappy dialogue and solid performances by its stars (Hugh Dancy, Maggie Gyllenhaal), this tastefully designed costume drama about the invention of the vibrator offers nimble entertainment in its first half. Then it falls apart, due not only to its diverging plot strands, but also to the superficial way it deals with the history of 19th century England.