Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Dangerous Method

Director David Cronenberg has visualized a compelling new drama about the early days of Psychoanalysis and it's pioneers Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung and Sabina Spielrein. His terrific cast brings these historical characters to vivid life in the dawn of the 20th century.

The ubiquitous Michael Fassbender shines in his portrayal of Carl Jung. The film introduces us to Dr. Jung when he begins to treat Ms. Spielrein for "Hysteria". Using the "Talking Method" first developed by Freud, Jung cures Ms. Spielrein, who later in life became one of the first female psychoanalysts. Sabina Spielrein is played by Keira Knightley and she is brilliant. It's the best work of her career. Professor Freud is played by Viggo Mortensen, who I never could imagine in the role but he is a wonderful surprise.

The film explores the complicated relationship between the three characters, ignited by Ms. Spielrein. It is her case that brings Jung and Freud together and ultimately plays a part in what separates them. While this is a film of words and ideas, credit Mr. Cronenberg and his cast for making psychoanalysis sexy.

I certainly saw these people differently from what I remember in psychology 101 and I left the theater wanting to know more, especially about the fascinating Ms. Spielrein.

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