Friday, January 25, 2013

MOVIE WEEKEND: HYSTERIA

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

The Hurricane recommended this movie to me, and now I recommend it to you. It's Hysteria, released in 2011 and available on DVD.

It seems half the ladies in Victorian London suffer from hysteria, a problem associated with the uterus.

Mrs. Bellamy: I truly don't even know why I'm here, doctor. 
[pen scraping
Mrs. Bellamy: Well, of course it's difficult running a large household by oneself. And raising four children is exacting, but they're wonderful, wonderful children. And my husband, he's a good man. A very hard worker. Um... Ahem. Well, there is just one thing. Sometimes at night, when he comes to me, I imagine myself splitting his fat bald head with a great large ax.


Dr. Robert Dalrymple (Jonathan Pryce) has built quite a practice by relieving the women of their hysteria through vulvar manipulation that brings on "paroxysms." Dr. Dalrymple is so successful at pleasing the women and thus releasing their nervousness and negative feelings, that he hires a doctor to work with him. This handsome young fellow, Mortimer Granville (Hugh Dancy), is so successful at pleasuring his patients that he can't keep up with them. Overloaded with work, he can no longer perform the task at hand and is fired by Dr. Dalrymple.

However, Dr. Granville has a friend, Edmund St. John-Smythe (Rupert Everett), a wealthy playboy who enjoys experimenting with electricity. Soon, St. John-Smythe and Granville develop a plan to put electricity to work to reduce the women's distress.

Edmund St. John-Smythe: [brainstorming] The Rubby-Nubby. 
Mortimer Granville: The Vibratorium. 
Edmund St. John-Smythe: The Jiggly-Wiggly? 
Mortimer Granville: Paroxysmator. 
Edmund St. John-Smythe: Oh, the Sorcerer's Apprentice. 
Mortimer Granville: The Excitetator? 
Edmund St. John-Smythe: Mr. Wobbly. 
Mortimer Granville: Oh, please. 
Edmund St. John-Smythe: What about, The Squealer? 


The rest, as they say, is history. Supposedly this movie is based on a true story. I don't think I want to know if it's true or not. I just want to enjoy it. 

I must also mention the performance of Maggie Gyllenhaal as Dr. Dalrymple's daughter, Charlotte, who volunteers at an East End settlement house, helping the poor and delivering babies, much to the dismay of her father, who wants her to spend her days as her sister Emily (Felicity Jones) does -- playing Chopin and acting in a pleasing manner as "the angel of the house," a very important function of the Victorian woman. Emily also engages in the practice of phrenology, which leads me to the question: Does anyone know what phrenology is? No fair Googling it. I learned about it in a class on the history of the English novel.

At any head, I love Maggie Gyllenhaal, and I love the character of Charlotte.

Hysteria has The Janie Junebug Highest Seal of Approval. It's very funny and not vulgar. However, it's not for children unless you want to be asked some very-difficult-to answer questions.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

P.S. As some of you know, our friend Melynda no longer blogs at Crazy World. She is instead devoting herself to our good health through promoting the use of herbalife products and offering her excellent advice. You can find Mel at https://www.GoHerbalife.com/melyndafleury/en-US. Get yourself some vitamins and feel better. Try the protein shakes. They're good for you and absolutely delicious. Melynda will work with you to help you solve specific health problems and to work on weight control. About six months after I started using herbalife products I was able to give up antidepressants, and I had been on them for a number of years. I just plain feel better since Melynda taught me how to eat properly and got me taking vitamins and using organic treatments for some of my physical complaints. Melynda is not trying to take the place of a doctor. It's better to think of her as a coach. Melynda also has The Janie Junebug Highest Seal of Approval.

28 comments:

  1. Hysteria it is, then! And one of the many random, useless facts I continue to hoard inside my head is what phrenology is. Those Victorians were an odd lot.

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    1. I adore random useless facts. I am quite random and useless.

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  2. I seem to recall this movie when it came out, probably because of the unusual subject matter. Based on your recommendation I just might give it a peek.

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    1. I suspect you and Mrs. C. would enjoy it.

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  3. I was ready to ignore this as a period drama but have to say it sounds quite good. That's my next Lovefilm request sorted.

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    1. It's not a drama at all. It's very funny.

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  4. Replies
    1. No wonder he was popular with the repressed ladies. They could get what they needed, yet it was respectable.

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  5. Head massage? Feet massage? I used to know.

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    1. The "science" of feeling the bumps on a person's head in order to discern personality traits.

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  6. That sounds like a great movie. I will add it to my list!!! Please have a wonderful weekend.
    Love,
    Stephanola

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    1. It's amusing enough to distract you for a little bit.

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  7. Now, that there sounds like an unusual movie! Difficult questions? You mean like the time my then 8-year-old son asked me what a "French tickler" is??? And yes, I did know what phrenology is.

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    1. I think you should write a post about dealing with difficult questions from children. You could start with French tickler. You are the second person to know what phrenology is. I'm impressed. I didn't think anyone would know, except for me and a few other people who took the class on the history of the British novel.

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  8. I am definitely going to watch that now...it sounds like a very funny movie. I had no idea what phrenology was but thanks for telling me :)

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    1. Enjoy, Lyndylou. How's Jack? I think of you all the time and pray for you and Jack and Holly.

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  9. See...there is very few problems that can't be settled simply by a good old fucking.

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    1. I think it's a riot that these prim and proper ladies would allow a man to "pleasure" them because it was a medical treatment. There's a sequence at the beginning with a series of ladies undergoing treatment and they say the most hilarious things.

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  10. Did you know I have a degree in phrenology? They gave it to me because I have so many knots on my head.....Those Victorian times sure were weird...

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    1. They certainly had some strange ideas, but someday people will look back at this time and say, Can you believe they actually thought xyz?

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  11. Hi Janie .. thanks for reminding me about this - I'd seen it ... but when Mum was alive I didn't always take things in - in fact couldn't so am quite glad you've highlighted the film - I've noted it ...

    This film seems to fall in the same category - Helen Hunt has been praised for her acting ..
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sessions_(film)
    It's good to see a cinematic take on things ...

    Great to read about - cheers Hilary

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    1. I have The Sessions in my netflix queue. It looks interesting and funny, and I like Helen Hunt.

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  12. Will try to check this movie out. Lately not had time to watch movies.
    www.thoughtsofpaps.com

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    1. This one is very amusing and a good way to relax.

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  13. I keep seeing this one in the netflix but haven't bothered with it. Now, I just think I might! Thanks for the recommendation. Oh, and I totally cheated and googled it. How odd!

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    1. It's okay. I like cheaters as long as I'm not married to them.

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  14. Hi praise my friend but you are correct. Since I've started on the products my blood sugar has dropped and is in better control. I love 110 pounds with it and my whole family including the kids have learned to eat properly and become healthier! Thank you for your kind words. ;)

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    1. You're welcome! All your friends want you to be a success.

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