Reviewed by Roberto Di Donato on
. Review and Trailer of film Hysteria In what can truly be described as the most original movie of all time, Hysteria gives the viewer a cheeky insight into the origins of women’s favourite sex toy; the vibrator....
Director: Tanya Wexler
Starring: Maggie Gyllenhaal, Hugh Dancy
In what can truly be described as the most original movie of all time, Hysteria gives the viewer a cheeky insight into the origins of women’s favourite sex toy; the vibrator. Set in England in the 1880’s, a doctor noticed that most women in England were suffering from disorders of the nervous system, “a plague of the time” called Hysteria. It was a “disease” which came in the form of depression, insomnia, “distracting thoughts” & ultimately just about any ailment that women had was classified as hysteria. Today it would simply be known as sexual frustration.
Hence the latest in women’s medicine was created; a treatment which involved the manual stimulation of the ladies’ “most gentle of areas”. This new treatment was successful at first, but when the doctor suffered RSI as a result, the treatment ceased to please & so a new “electrical assistant” was invented; the vibrator. Ultimately a portable version was created.
Owing to the nature of the story, had it been written as a drama it would have been perverse & unwatchable. But because it was written as a non-crude mild comedy it worked & even the most prudish of viewers should find it tasteful. There is no nudity & the potential nervousness the viewer may have experienced in the “treatment” scenes is cleverly blocked by the comical writing. Well acted by a competent cast there is also a romantic subplot & a hysterical court scene where a lady is being tried as being criminally insane owing to her “bad case of hysteria”.
Based on real events, the research into hysteria ceased in 1952. As the end credits roll, photo's of these electrical stimulators from past to present are shown. Incredible to think that in that era when middle to upper class women were prim and proper, behind closed doors these devices were being utilised. A hilarious scene near the end where a member of the Royal family of the day curiously holds one of these devices in her hand. I found it amusing the majority of the audience were elderly ladies... JAKE 3.5