Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Dangerous Method

Although this movie purports to be about the relationship between Drs. Freud vs. Jung, it's more accurately a story of Jung's illicit relationship with one of his patients who went on to become a noted psychoanalyst in her own right. Keira Knightley the initially damaged Sabina Spielrein who is healed by Jung's application of "The Talking Cure" (the stage play on which the movie was based), a method proposed by Dr. Sigmund Freud.

Knightley has received mixed reviews for her performance, but I think she acquits herself admirably. An actress of remarkable beauty, she is fully willing to forgo vanity as her face is contorted by the pain and humiliation of her "affliction." Yes, her accents drops out at times, but I give her credit for attempting to maintain it even during scenes requiring her to be hysterical.

Indeed, it's mainly Knightley's movie (evident in that she gets top billing over both Viggo Mortensen as Freud and Michael Fassbender as Jung) with the depiction of the ultimate rift between Jung and Freud and schism between their analytic philosophies given very little screen time.

The film suffers as most adaptations of plays do being heavy with dialogue and fairly static in nature. Towards the end of the film, I was feeling a bit snoozy as the two lead characters (not Freud) wrapped up their relationship with one final analysis. The most fascinating piece of info I got from the film was Spielrein's thesis regarding the connection of sex and death. It's a very Scorpionic/eighth house viewpoint and it makes me wonder if it inspired Jung's astrological archetypes.

All in all, the film was a perfect representation of the adage, "Physician, heal thyself!" and my long held belief psych students gravitate to the discipline to diagnose their own neuroses.

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