(CBS SF) – KCBS Entertainment Reporter, Jan Wahl reviews ‘Hysteria’ staring Maggie Gyllenhaal, Hugh Dancy, Jonathan Pryce, Rupert Everett, Ashley Jensen, Sheridan Smith, Felicity Jones, Gemma Jones and Anna Chancellor.
In an age of invention and often social prudishness, one man sets out to find a medical cure for what is ailing a group of women. In the process, he electrifies and changes lives forever.
We meet Mortimer Granville, (Hugh Dancy), a dedicated and forward-thinking doctor. He sees the procedures and conditions of the medical world in his British Victorian world and he is appalled. As he fights the bloodletting and worse of the medical establishment, he has a career change and ends up with a doctor (Jonathon Pryce) in a thriving solo practice helping women who suffer from the nervous disorder termed at the time “Hysteria.” This doctor has two very different daughters, one of them a free spirit and reformer (Maggie Gyllenhaal.) She’s a suffragette campaigning for women’s rights and running a center to help feed and educate the poor. This character drives the movie forward as she tries to make life bearable and give options and opportunities to working class women.
Back in the world of “hysteria” patients, a catch-all description to the patients dealing with anxiety, depression and anything else considered unwomanly in Victorian times, Mortimer is having success. An actor we don’t see enough, Rupert Everett, is a wealthy inventor friend of Dr. Granville, and is now turning an electrical device into something quite different.
The rest is history as we follow this comedy – that is based on a true story – with some unforgettable Victorian characters. Director Tanya Wexler keeps it fun, while making political and social statements and sometimes just being outrageous. Three hats.
See Right Now: Men in Black 3, Hemingway and Gellhorn (HBO beginning Monday, Nicole Kidman, journalist Martha Gellhorn and Clive Owen as Hemingway, filmed in SF), Bernie, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Home Viewing/DVD: Albert Nobbs, Carol Channing: Larger Than Life, We Bought a Zoo, Drop Dead Diva: Season 3, Rampart
You can hear KCBS Entertainment Editor Jan Wahl’s movie reviews on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM Fridays at 8:53am & 4:53pm.
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