Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

A Dangerous Method


Wow! A no-holds-barred, cage match smackdown between Siggy Freud and Carl “The Awful Archetype” Jung! Of course, the match is conducted by two men sitting together and chatting amiably or exchanging letters about psychoanalytic theory whilst analyzing themselves and each other … but the insights! The breakthroughs! For a while I thought the referee, Sabina Spielrein, was going to have to call it all off before it got fatally introspective.

Okay, joke. This is a fascinating study of the two men who laid the foundations for psychiatry, and the woman who has been cheated of her rightful place in history (though Freud, to his credit, did acknowledge that she was the first to state some important parts of his theories). Keira Knightly plays Sabina, and in the opening scenes where she is being committed to a mental hospital after suffering a “nervous breakdown” I was really worried that she was going to dislocate her jaw, she strained so intently against demons only she could see. The amazing thing is that she was cured, and then became Jung’s student, then sado-masochistic lover (she needed to be whipped, and humiliated, to get off), and finally a doctor in her own right. A Jew like Freud, she was murdered along with her children by fucking Nazis in Russia in 1942. Viggo Mortensen plays Freud, and Michael Fassbender is Jung. All three stars are impressive.