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A Dangerous Method

2011

R CC

Seduced by the challenge of an impossible case, the driven Dr. Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) takes the unbalanced yet beautiful Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightly) as his patient. Jung's weapon is the method of his master, the renowned Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen). Both men fall under Sabina's spell. Based on a true story.

Starring:
Keira Knightley, Viggo Mortensen
Runtime:
1 hour, 39 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Thriller
Director David Cronenberg
Starring Keira Knightley, Viggo Mortensen
Supporting actors Michael Fassbender, Vincent Cassel, Sarah Gadon, André Hennicke, Arndt Schwering-Sohnrey, Mignon Remé, Mareike Carrière, Franziska Arndt, Wladimir Matuchin, André Dietz, Anna Thalbach, Sarah Marecek, Bjorn Geske, Markus Haase, Christian Serritiello, Clemens Giebel, Theo Meller, Jost Grix
Studio Sony Pictures Classics
MPAA rating R (Restricted)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Putting aside some minor historical and biographical inaccuracies, "A Dangerous Method" is a marvelous film, with a bravura performance by Keira Knightly. The focus of the film is the relationship between two of the great founders of modern psychological theory, Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung.

Freud (1856-1939) was an Austrian Jew who developed the Psychoanalytic method as a result of his work in neurology and his experiments with Mesmerism (hypnosis). He published the first of many books in 1899 and this attracted the attention of dozens of intellectuals, including Carl Jung (1875-1961), a Swiss Psychiatrist.

Jung approached Freud in 1906 and their relationship lasted for approximately 7 years.

When they met, Freud was 50 and Jung was 31. Freud was a Jew and Jung was a Swiss Reformed Evangelical. Freud was 5'7", Jung was 6'1". Jung's experience was largely based in institutions and Freud was primarily a private physician. Freud lived comfortably but was never well off. Jung had been poor as a child but married one of the wealthiest women in Switzerland. Freud was known for being faithful to his wife and Jung was well known for his affairs, one of which is the focus of the film.

Keira Knightly plays Sabrina Spielrein (1885-1942), a former patient of Jung with whom he had an affair. Knightgly is the Natalie Portman look-alike who played the decoy Queen in Star Wars (1999). From this humble beginning she went on to earn an Oscar and a Golden Globe nomination for "Pride and Prejudice" (2005) and has been in such box office hits as the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise and "King Arthur" (2004). As the conflicted and vulnerable Russian Jewess, this is by far her best performance and one of the best performances by anyone.
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42 Comments 222 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
This is really a story of Victorian restraints versus early 20th century liberationist impulses and tendencies (or of ego versus id). Viggo Mortensen plays Freud as a man who is brave enough to suggest that sex is the key to unlocking virtually every human secret but who is so thoroughly ensconced in Victorian respectablity that he is uncertain what to do with this discovery. Initially, he places his hopes in Jung but, as Michael Fassbender plays him, Jung is too confused by his own personal truths and desires to see a clear way forward. Neither men seem to understand psychoanalysis as Sabina (Keira Knightly) understands it: as a personally and politically liberating art & science. Cronenberg's film (based on a book and stage play) suggests that we still haven't resolved the age-old dispute between Freud's patriarchal rationalism that preserves the social order and a more anti-patriarchal & anti-authoritarian version of psychoanalysis that transforms the social order. Keira Knightly's character seems to be the one nearest realizing some form of compromise between or some sort of synthesis of these two competing branches of the art/science but alas the film ends and we never learn what that way forward might have been. One thing is certain: this is my idea of cinema, a cinema of ideas.
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Format: DVD
Film makers, like novelists, have artistic license when dealing with historical characters and events. Still, when their portrayal is severely distorted, they may be doing a disservice to the audience, who comes to accept what they see or read as the truth. This is the case with A Dangerous Method, which has so many biographical facts wrong that it makes the film hard to follow or understand. The movie purports to be about the relationship between Carl Jung at the beginning of his career, Freud, and one of Jung's first psychoanalytic patients, a young Russian-Jewish woman named Sabina Spielrein. What is wrong? Jung is portrayed as a clean-cut, serious and soft-spoken young man. In fact, the real Jung was a ferociously ambitious doctor, with a booming voice, energetic, and someone who felt, from late childhood on, that he had two personalities. He was, in other words, somewhat of a wild man; in his youth his friends called him "barrel" both because of his robust physique and his capacity for alcohol. In short, the portrayal of Jung is a most serious distortion of the real man.

Eugen Bleuler, the head of the Burghölzli where Sabina is hospitalized is, again, mistakenly portrayed as an authoritarian man who has little sympathy for her. Not true: both he and Jung granted her wish to become a medical student and not a mental patient and it was this, along with Jung's love, care, and taking her on as his research assistant, that enabled her to overcome the crazed state she was in when she first came to the hospital.

And what of the real Sabina? The movie shows her engaged in various bizarre body distortions but gives no sense of why she is in such a state.
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25 Comments 155 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
first let's give acting credit where it is due. yes, the two male actors do a wonderful job. but the jump out of your seat and yell bravo performance certainly goes to keira knightly as first jung's patient and then freud's. she opens the movie as a psychiatric patient being forcibly conveyed to jung's clinic. she covers the gamut of range of emotion because she starts out as patient and ends up as therapist.

fassbender and mortenson do the more restrained jobs that playing jung and freud would require. there are strong emotions running between the two men but as analysts this must be conveyed in their typical observational and subdued style. for example, freud has a number of problems with jung and they aren't sexual! first and foremost, he envies him that he is married to one of the wealthiest women in europe. next, freud suffers from all the coming thunder of being a Jew in a Germany which will erupt against Jews. Jung has no such religious or ethnic background to constantly battle.

they only knew one another for seven years and then parted over divisive beliefs in where psychoanalytic practice should develop. they knew one another before the world wars broke out in europe. both are regarded as giants in the psychiatric field. few people, at least in america, receive either straight jungian or freudian therapy today. the major factor is that the cost of rendering such treatment does not fit within our health care system. however, all branches of treatment used today feature the basic precepts established by these two men.

i am not surprised that david cronenberg directed. this subject matter needed a very visionary old hand. i think he succeeded very well in bringing a potentially difficult subject to the screen.
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