Movie Review: Hysteria Is the Most Demure Film You’ll See About Sex Toys

Don’t get too excited. Hysteria may be a film about the guy who invented the vibrator, but it’s probably the most demure movie you’ll ever see about the creation of a sex toy. Tanya Wexler’s film goes through the moves of irreverence — there’s lots of wink-wink innuendo and irony to spare — but it could just as well be about the guy who invented the cheese grater. The handsome production values will bring to mind Merchant-Ivory, but the real inspiration here might be Walt Disney.

Okay, that’s maybe taking it a bit too far. There’s at least the promise of social heft in Wexler’s story line. Our hero is germ-obsessed and forward-looking Dr. Mortimer Granville (Hugh Dancy), who, finding that the 1880 medical establishment frowns on his progressive and scientific ideas, gets a job with women’s medicine specialist Dr. Robert Dalrymple (Jonathan Pryce). Dalrymple’s got his hands full manually, er, relieving uterine pressure on women diagnosed with hysteria (a catch-all malady to deal with such symptoms as "weeping, nymphomania, frigidity, melancholia, and anxiety"). Unfortunately, all that rubbing causes Dr. Granville to come down with a case of hand cramps, so really, he was a martyr for carpal-tunnel research as well. Read More...


Want to comment on this? First, you must log in to your SideReel account!