Movie Review: A Dangerous Method

I watched this movie on Starz this week and was inspired to share my thoughts about it. ^_^

The movie is based on the book A Most Dangerous Method and the stage play The Talking Cure. It follows Carl Jung and details his relationship with Sigmund Freud and the development of psychoanalysis.   

It’s not typically my type of movie, but I didn’t get bored not one time (and that is super rare for me in something like this.) The movie got mixed reviews on Amazon, practically split evenly down the middle. But here’s why I liked it.

The movie is complex. And I think the directors and actors handled the material very well. Michael Fassbender (Magneto of X-Men: First Class) did a great job showing Jung’s struggles to stick to own theories while feeling the pressure to conform to Freud’s (played by Viggo Mortenson) “scientific” (and mostly sex-obsessed) approach to psychology. 

The movie starts in 1904 when Jung takes on the hysterical Sabina Speilrein, a Russian Jew (played oddly by Keira Knightly) and tries out Freud’s new psychoanalytic theories on her. It works wonders and she not only makes vast improvements but grows up and becomes invested in the field herself. 

The rift between Freud and Jung start when Jung realizes that Freud will never see him as an equal, though Freud tries to spin it as disgust at Jung’s affair with Sabina. It seemed to be Freud was threatened by Jung and tried to shut him up by saying that Jung’s theories would ruin and discredit the field of psychology. 

I had a little bit of a hard time being convinced that Keira Knightly was Russian or a Jew. Her accent seemed a little inconsistent at times, but I think she did the best she could and that helped me look past it. The significance of Sabina & Freud being Jewish and Jung being a Swiss-Reformed Aryan is only slightly touched upon. I think they could have delved a little deeper into that, but the movie wanted to keep the majority of the focus on Jung’s relationships with Freud & Sabina and also Jung’s relationship with himself and how he goes from being a student of Freud’s and doubting himself to being one the leading psychologists of his time. 

For me it was especially interesting to follow Jung as I didn’t know nearly as much about him as I knew about Freud. I think this is worthwhile movie to watch for anyone interested in psychology. 

I give it 4 stars out of 5.

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