Ah yes, the women, you can’t live with them, can’t live without them. The only problem with that concept is that you most certainly can, but I don’t want to get off track so early here. Hysteria is an entertaining period comedy injected with a healthy dose of reality and romance. This is a movie exploring the first attempts to treat “female hysteria”. Attempts that will actually lead to the creation of the world’s first vibrator. And if that is not a good reason to check out this movie, I don’t know what is.
Although Hysteria might also be one of those movies that guys can use to get women to have sex with them after they’ve shown them they’re all intelligent and shit. I know this sounds a bit nasty but I’m willing to do anything to broaden all of our horizons. And if this is what it takes, then so be it. I first heard about the concept of female hysteria while watching Mad Men and after a quick Wiki check I was surprised to find out it’s actually true. I mean, they really thought that female hysteria was a thing. A condition covering a wide array of symptoms like nervousness, sexual desire, insomnia…
Basically, anything that your patriarchal overlord would deem disruptive to his efforts to lead the best life he can. So, you can already see where the movie is going and what it’s trying to do. The movie Hysteria is mostly based on true events. For example, Joseph Mortimer Granville really did exist and he did invent the first vibrator. However, we also have all these fictional characters and events added to make the movie work. And to shed light on this part of our history and medicine.
I should point out that all of this was done in a casual and easygoing manner. So, no one is trying to push an agenda or a narrative here. And if you feel they are trying to push something maybe it’s time to reconsider your own views. The movie does feature certain scenes showing the early stages of the development of female emancipation. I mean, we’re still trying to form a just society almost 150 years after the events portrayed in this movie. Not to mention the fact that all the characters are these wealthy people while the “commoners” lived and died on the margins of the society.
Dr. Mortimer Granville is a young doctor in Victorian London trying to find employment after being fired from a local hospital by spreading “lies” about hygiene. He lives with his roommate, eccentric Edmund St. John-Smythe. Edmund is a wealthy inventor who likes to experiment with all things electrical. After almost all the private practice doctors in London had turned him down, he finally found employment. Dr. Robert Dalrymple who specializes in treating female hysteria welcomes him with open arms. His method consists of pelvic massage of the genital area (or hand-jobs for women to put it plainly), and Dr. Mortimer soon proves to be quite an assistant in this area…
Did you know that the world’s first vibrator had a battery that weighed about 40 pounds? I mean, it was mobile but that battery was fucking massive. Hysteria is basically a British romcom with a twist. You can already hear all those hoity-toity or posh British women saying Oh myyy and blushing at the mere mention of the sexual stuff. And that’s good as we need to talk about these things. Hugh Dancy and Maggie Gyllenhaal were excellent along with infinitely cute Felicity Jones. And it was also nice to see Rupert Everett again. Oh man, Oh man, he came a long way from Cemetery Man.
Director: Tanya Wexler
Writers: Stephen Dyer, Jonah Lisa Dyer, Howard Gensler
Fun Facts: The scene where two ducks mate was the hardest one to film in the entire movie. The production team spent hours and hours trying to capture the event in the wild but with no success. They eventually used a YouTube clip.