Wild Young Minds: A Dangerous Method

Sunday, March 25, 2012

A Dangerous Method

''My greatest desire when I become a doctor is to give people back their freedom''.

Two of the greatest psychiatrists of the (19th and) 20th century and one woman. I think I can say that everyone of us knows or has heard of Sigmund Freud at least once. Well, I have. But I never really knew what it was that made him so famous. Of course it had to be something extremely intelligent, but all those psychiatrists, philosophers.. How should I know who said what? All I knew was that it had something to do with unconsciousness, sexual desires and dreams. Now I know so much more.

A Dangerous Method is a 2011 film by David Cronenberg, and starring Keira Knightley, Michael Fassbender (rising star, you may have seen or will see him in Shame or Inglourious Basterds), Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn in Lord of the Rings, and this time he's having a beard as well, fortunately) and Vincent Cassel.

In the beginning we see a lunatic screaming Keira Knightley, who plays Sabina Spielrein, a Russian Jew, being brought to a clinic in Switzerland. She's being treated by the young Carl Jung, an ambitious and intelligent psychiatrist, who uses Sigmund Freud's famous psycoanalysis to treat her. This has to do with deep instincts, youth traumas and a continuous dialogue.

Keira Knightley plays the mad Sabina extremely well. Since I've seen millions of films that star her, I was worried I would see her as Keira and not as a Russian Jew dying to become a doctor. But she did fine, I can imagine it's not easy playing an insane person. Unfortunately the East-European accent failed completely. One time she was just speaking normal with a deeper tone and the other time she pronounced words extremely East-European. Not very consistent.

We learn that Sabina suffers from sexual frustations, she was abused by her father when she was young, but it actually excited her. Just like all kinds of humilation excite her. When Sabina doesn't have an attack, she's a very intelligent woman. She desires to be a doctor and she's quite good at it, so she helps Jung with his experiments.

This Sabina is also the case that becomes the main subject of Jung and Freud's friendship. Jung has always been an admirer of Freud and one day they meet. They talk for hours, discussing their thoughts about psychoanalysis and their philosophies. Freud wants Jung to become his successor but Jung has some points on which he doesn't agree with Freud. Freud is more sober, whereas Jung wants to expand the fields, he believes in some sort of spirituality.

Meanwhile, Sabina tells Jung she's always available for sex (not in those words, but she really desires to have sex and she and Jung have a lot in common). Jung has a wife and children, and he founds it rejectable to have sex with a patient. But when the freeminded psychiatrist Otto Gross becomes his patient and tells him he should follow his instincts, Jung decides to do it anyway. Sabina and Jung begin a sexual relationship, that includes SM.

He denies all this to Freud but when it comes to trouble with Sabina, Freud founds out anyway. The professional clash (their different believes) has turned into a wider clash: also socially. That's all I've got to say about that, if you want to know more, you should see the film.

First of all, the views of Switzerland and Vienna were pretty wonderful. Though it wasn't a very sensational film, it was definitely a film that made me think. Think about psychology, about inner desires, about the civilization (what would happen if we wouldn't restrained ourself, like Freud said we would), and even about raising children. And if a film lets you think about all those kind of things, it must've done something good. Interesting and moving. I'd say, go see it and think about those things for a bit as well. Nothing wrong with that.

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