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Hysteria (2012)

Maggie Gyllenhaal , Hugh Dancy , Tanya Wexler  |  R |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (186 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Maggie Gyllenhaal, Hugh Dancy, Jonathan Pryce, Felicity Jones, Rupert Everett
  • Directors: Tanya Wexler
  • Writers: Howard Gensler, Jonah Lisa Dyer, Stephen Dyer
  • Producers: Anouk Nora, Bob Bellion, Christine Ruppert, Claudia Bluemhuber
  • Format: AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: September 18, 2012
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (186 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B008220A62
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #56,433 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Hysteria" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

What do women want? Well, science may debate that for years, but Hysteria provides a very entertaining answer in the form of a historical romp through early psychology. Based on the story of a young British doctor who essentially invented the first vibrator, Hysteria handles its offbeat subject matter lightly and amusingly. And its cast is splendid. Maggie Gyllenhaal and Felicity Jones play Victorian-era sisters, Charlotte and Emily, daughters of the prominent physician Dr. Dalrymple (Jonathan Pryce). Into their lives comes an ambitious, thoughtful young doctor, Mortimer Granville (played by the dreamy Hugh Dancy). Dr. Granville's life work has become focused on women's issues, including the all-encompassing diagnosis "hysteria," for which he is experimenting with therapeutic "pelvic massage" treatments. When he comes to Dr. Dalrymple for mentoring and approval of his rather unorthodox treatments, the doctor's two daughters vie for his romantic affections. In lesser hands, this film could have been a Victorian-era 40-Year-Old Virgin or The (Sexual) Hangover, but director Tanya Wexler keeps the action crisp, light, and focused. Hysteria is a great date movie or a splendid escape for history, and hysteria, lovers. --A.T. Hurley

Product Description

HYSTERIA is a romantic comedy wrapped around the surprising story of the first electro-mechanical vibrator, invented by happenstance at a time when the very peak of Victorian prudishness coincided with the dawn of the electrical age. London. 1880. Dr. Mortimer Granville (Dancy) is torn between the "proper" doctor's staid and static world of success and acceptance and a more progressive and fulfilling, but frowned upon, experience. Tossed out for his forward-thinking ideas by the medical establishment, Granville finds a position with Dr. Robert Dalrymple, a highly respected and successful doctor, with a very popular private practice specializing in treating women diagnosed with Hysteria. In his new position, Dalrymple finds Granville a proper suitor for his beloved daughter Emily, the epitome of "English virtue and womanliness," with her lovely face, demure manner and artistic and intellectual accomplishments, but it is the elder daughter Charlotte (Gyllenhaal), a firebrand social reformer, arguing passionately for women's rights to be educated, vote, and live independent lives that secretly excites him. Although Granville is somewhat shocked by Charlotte's lack of propriety, he feels kinship with her conviction to help those in need. They snipe at each other's views, but he earns her grudging respect when he treats a poor settlement house woman with a broken ankle.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pleasant romcom, and oh yea, it involves a vibrator June 16, 2012
"Hysteria" (95 min.) brings the highly unlikely (but we are reminded at the beginning of the film that "This movie is based on true events. Really.") story of a young doctor Dr. Mortimer Granville (played by Hugh Dancy) in London, 1880, who is struggling but eventually finds a job with Dr. Robert Dalrymple (played brillantly by Jonathan Pryce) who is treating women for the so-called hysteria disease, really a catch-all for any and all things supposedly wrong with women in those days. The treatment is nothing else but to touch these women's private parts until they reach "paroxysmal convulsions" (wink, wink). The young doctor along with his buddy eventually come up with a mechanical device, which became the vibrator (still the number one sex toy in the world today, we are reminded at the end of the movie).

But the movie in fact is much more about Granville's romantic interplay with the 2 daughters of Dalrymple, Emily (played by Felicity Jones), who is "daddy's girl" and to whom Granville gets engaged, and Charlotte (played by Maggie Gyllenhaal), the "rebel" daughter who has set up a social center to help the poor. I don't want to give away much more from the plot, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Maggie Gyllenhall really shines in this movie. I couldn't help but think how much she reminded me of Diane Keaton in her late 70s performances (think Annie Hall). That aside, this movie is a pleasant romcom, nothing more, nothing less. And no, not an "important movie" about women's empowerment as some other reviews here (who obviously did not see the movie) are suggesting.
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38 of 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hysterical -- in the best possible meaning of the word September 22, 2012
When, some time ago, I'd heard that Maggie Gyllenhaal was making a movie about the invention of the vibrator, I was excited. I mean, I love Maggie and I love vibrators so what more could I ask for in the way of entertainment? But time went by and I heard nothing about it. I'd almost forgotten it completely when, checking out the new offerings on Amazon (because as I've told you repeatedly for months now, NETFLIX SUCKS), there it was! Yippee!

I had fresh coffee, a French toast bagel with honey walnut cream cheese and a movie about vibrators. A near-perfect Saturday morning.

Honestly, I expected the movie to be interesting, perhaps even enlightening in an indie film kinda way, considered that it apparently got so little press I wasn't even aware it had opened. But what i got was a delighful little movie that had me chuckling and laughing out loud. Considering the subject, it gives the term "a feel-good movie" a whole new meaning.

Even better, the basic facts of the movie are true.

In England of the 1890's -- the height of Victorian prudery, where furniture was draped with heavy fabric to prevent the scandalous sight of carved table "legs" giving rise to lascivious thoughts -- the average doctor killed more patients than he saved. Medicine was still medieval, and leeching was still being prescribed even for broken bones.

Mortimer Granville, a young doctor who eagerly embraces all the cutting-edge research of the day, finds himself discharged from one hospital after another for his strange new ideas about "germs" and hand washing. In desperation, he ends up at the door of Dr. Dalrymple, who is eager for help in his thriving and lucrative practice treating "female hysteria.
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37 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hysteria is hysterical! June 5, 2012
Yes, Hysteria really is about the invention of the vibrator in Victorian England. And in my opinion it is adorable. Not everyone's cup of tea I realize. If the subject matter makes you a little uncomfortable, then give this one a pass. I can certainly see that certain conservatives would not be amused by this premise.

If however you find it amusing that someone made a romantic comedy know what... then you will have a lovely light evening with lots of laughs.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Charming and very lightweight December 19, 2012
HYSTERIA is a very light-weight and somewhat charming and humorous look at the development of the vibrator. Just to be clear right from the start, although the movie is Rate R, there is no nudity and very little sexuality. This movie barely rises to the level of titillating, much less erotic. And to be fair, it is not TRYING to do this.

Set in London in 1880, we're introduced to a very backwards medical society, where germs are still a "crazy theory." And most women's problems, whether true mental health issues or simply general dissatisfaction (sexual or otherwise) are chalked up to a diagnosis of Hysteria. We're introduced to a clinic, run by Jonathan Pryce, which is devoted to a cure for hysteria that involves the manual stimulation of women. The women who can afford this treatment are eagerly lining up for it...they are essentially paying to receive stimulation they are not receiving from their husbands. Remember, this is a time when the idea of a woman being aroused without direct input from their husbands is not believed. Women are subject to "hysteria" not sexual frustration.

Into this scene comes a charming young doctor (Hugh Dancy) whose good looks make the hysteria clinic even more popular. And Dancy is introduced to Pryce's two daughters: the seemingly proper and demur Felicity Jones and the rambunctious but charitable Maggie Gyllenhaal. Not surprisingly in the least, he courts Jones but is drawn to Gyllenhaal.

Poor Dr. Dancy begins to suffer from carpel tunnel with all the work he's doing with his wrist. But he happens to be close friends with Rupert Everett, a rich guy with time to tinker with inventions. The two men turn Everett's electric feather-duster into an electric stimulator.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A movie to laugh and cry.
A very good movie and it was historical as well a funny. It was in very good shape. Well acted............
Published 10 days ago by Rudy Sutherland
5.0 out of 5 stars hysteria
How funny! I ordered this and had a girls night. We all got a big laugh out of this movie. Well done!
Published 1 month ago by RM
5.0 out of 5 stars Hysteria
This video was very enjoyable. If you love funny and romantic this is the video to see. My friends all enjoyed it!
Published 1 month ago by Kim Campbell
4.0 out of 5 stars Funny!
It's a funnier movie if one doesn't read the summary on the back. This movie was easy to watch and entertaining.
Published 2 months ago by Robyn O. Litvay
4.0 out of 5 stars Good British humor
If you enjoy British humor, you will enjoy this movie. Adult nature with a bit of history thrown in at the end.
Published 3 months ago by Pat Fox
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Great Movie for Maggie Gyllenhaal!
Well "The Secretary," was a hard act to follow. but sure enough, Maggie did it again!

I have to say that "The Secretary" is one of the most original and... Read more
Published 3 months ago by visionary831
5.0 out of 5 stars Hillarious
I loved this movie. I didn't know much about the history behind this. It was a very funny film. Would recommend and would watch again.
Published 3 months ago by A. King
5.0 out of 5 stars A must see for all woman that have an iota of sexuality
Don't get me wrong, this is a great movie for men too. It starts out a little slow but once it picks up speed, it will have you falling out of your chair in laughter. Read more
Published 4 months ago by hummingbird
5.0 out of 5 stars Oldie and Surprisingly Goodie
Saw this movie one late night on cable TV and loved it. Great acting and a very funny movie. Wanted to share it with a good friend of mine and purchased this item as a birthday... Read more
Published 4 months ago by bill duncan
5.0 out of 5 stars A female problem of the late 1800's
This Dvd is just a great trip back in time to England. Hysteria was identified as a female problem identified by the male physicians during the end of the 1800's. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Doak W.
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