Jun 18

A Dangerous Method | Film Review

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This film about the birth of psychoanalysis is a triumph. An intelligent and though-provoking film with wonderful performances by Michael Fassbender, Viggo Mortensen and Keira Knightley. Fassbender plays Jung when he was 29 and just married to a wealthy women called Emma. He was working at a hospital in Zurich in 1904 when he met Sabina Spielrein, an 18-year-old Russian Jew who is admitted in a deeply distressed condition.

Jung is attracted and fascinated by Sabina and after Freud sends him Otto Gross, (Vincent Cassel), as a patient, Jung comes under his influence and enters into an unprofessional relationship with Sabina. Gross was himself a psychiatrist in his 20s and suffered from dementia praecox (as schizophrenia was then known).

Jung cures Sabina with the “talking cure”, or psychoanalysis, then being used in Vienna by the 48-year-old Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen), a well-established but highly controversial figure.

Sigmund Freud thought of Carl Jung as his natural heir, but relationships between the two men became strained.

This film is a very good historical film from David Cronenberg. I believe this film is the best Cronenberg has ever made.

Freud sees himself as the father that Jung wishes to destroy. Jung believes that psychoanalysis may save the world.

As the film ends Jung tells Sabina about dreams of the apocalypse. This film ends just before the first world war so Jung was accurate about an apocalypse. The legacy of Freud and Jung is evident in the film. They still affect not only psychoanalysis but our everyday lives. Sabina becomes a celebrated psychologist in the Soviet Union, but, sadly, becomes an early victim of the holocaust along with her two daughters.

A Dangerous Method is available on DVD and Digital Download from June 25th.