Friday, June 22, 2012

MOVIE REVIEW: Hysteria (Spoiler)

Tanya Wexler


Stephen Dyer (story and screenplay)
Jonah Lisa Dyer (story and screenplay)
Howard Ginsler (original story)


Hugh Dancy ... Mortimer Granville
Maggie Gyllenhaal ... Charlotte Dalrymple
Jonathan Pryce ... Dr. Robert Dalrymple
Felicity Jones ... Emily Dalrymple
Rupert Everett ... Edmund St. John-Smythe
Ashley Jensen ... Fannie
Sheridan Smith ... Molly
Gemma Jones ... Lady St. John-Smythe
Malcolm Rennie ... Lord St. John-Smythe
Kim Criswell ... Mrs. Castellari
Georgie Glen ... Mrs. Parsons
Elisabet Johannesdottir ... Mrs. Pearce
Linda Woodhall ... Nurse Smalley
Kim Selby ... Lady Wheaton
John Overstall ... Mr. Huddleston
Ann Overstall Comfort ... Mrs. Huddleston (as Ann Comfort)
Jonathan Rhodes ... PC Fugate

Despite his education and dedication to his patients, Dr. Mortimer Granville can't keep a job in any respectable London hospital. You see, he believes in invisible creatures---germs and this odd fellow named Lister.

Quite frankly, if he was a woman, he'd be in serious trouble.

However, Dr. Granville presents himself to a private practice, a Woman's Specialist, Dr. Dalrymple, who's quite anxious to hire a young, capable associate with good hands and who might well be able to take over the practice and possibly even wed his youngest, very proper daughter, Emily.

Dr. Granville's somewhat surprised at the treatment--quite possibly the best time any woman's had at the hands of a physician before or since--but as his handsome face gains him more patients, his hands are giving literally giving him fits. Meanwhile, he's torn between the Dalrymple sisters: very proper Emily and Charlotte, who could be described either as an angel of mercy or a madwoman depending on whether you were a poor person of the street or a proper Victorian.

Quite accidentally, Mortimer discovers the cure to his problem via an electric motor and possibly an aid for the women of the practice as well. If you've seen the trailers, you're aware of what that invention is--and what it has become.

The film is honestly hysterically funny. You'll be wiping tears from your eyes. I'm hoping for awards for some of the cast. Hysteria not only will be part of my DVD collection, I may well see the film again with a group of friends.

Hysteria has a basis so bizarre to most people accustomed to modern medicine that if a writer introduced the concept in a story, many readers without a grounding in the topic would dismiss it as fiction. However, it's important to note that the actual diagnosis of hysteria was not abandoned until 1952. See the following articles for more reference:

Rebecca McFarland Kyle, June 2012

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