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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing, entertaining and deeply fascinating
This film is a kind of triple biopic, recreating a crucial period in the lives of psychoanalytic pioneers Freud, Jung and Sabina Spielrein in a manner that shows great respect for historical accuracy. But the interplay between the three, as played by Mortenson, Fassbender and Knightley, is so riveting that it comes across as a subtle and moving psychological masterpiece,...
Published on March 28 2012 by Gary Fuhrman

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I expected more
This film is beautiful to look at '-- costumes, settings, props all exquisitely presented. And the acting by all three principles is superb. For me, these are sufficient reasons to see the film. But if you know anything about psychoanalysis (Freud) and/or analytical psychology (Jung), you might find yourself rather bored. I did. I wasn''t expecting a perfectly...
Published on May 17 2012 by delia ruhe


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I expected more, May 17 2012
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This film is beautiful to look at '-- costumes, settings, props all exquisitely presented. And the acting by all three principles is superb. For me, these are sufficient reasons to see the film. But if you know anything about psychoanalysis (Freud) and/or analytical psychology (Jung), you might find yourself rather bored. I did. I wasn''t expecting a perfectly accurate historical take -- nor did the film present one -- but I was expecting the focus to be on Freud and Jung''s relationship. Instead, this is a film about the relationship between Jung and Spielrein with the character of Freud in a fairly modest supporting role.

Sabina Spielrein comes to Dr Jung at the Bergholzei in Switzerland suffering from a violent case of what used to be called '"hysteria."' But instead of a reasonably explanatory presentation of how the 'talking cure' helps her recover, we get a (thoroughly fictional) sexual affair between Spielrein and Jung in which he turns her on by spanking her. Perhaps that was supposed to illustrate how '"dangerous"' the talking-cure method can be? If that is the case, it should be pointed out that virtually all methods of psychotherapy are potentially dangerous in this way, since they virtually all lend themselves to transference-countertransference events of varying intensities.

But since we already know that Cronenberg favours Freudian over Jungian theory, I rather think that the sexual affair is supposed to suggest that the Freudian position that sexual disturbance is at the root of every neurosis and psychosis is essentially correct, as distinct from Jung''s much more expansive view of libidinal vitality. We are, I think, supposed to conclude that Jung''s long period of emotional turmoil is a consequence of his trying to work through his own behaviour with Sabina: did it reinforce Freud's view over his own, or was it just a coincidence?

When one consults the available documents -- especially the letters between Freud and Jung, along with thoughtful biographies of each man -- one will discover that the relationship between these two profoundly intelligent and deeply sensitive personalities would make a gripping movie all on its own, providing there were a director and actors good at conveying emotion while still remaining true to Victorian reserve. For both men did suffer as a result of their high expectations of and disappointment in each other.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing, entertaining and deeply fascinating, March 28 2012
By 
Gary Fuhrman "gnox" (Manitoulin Island) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Dangerous Method (Blu-Ray/DVD Combo) / Une méthode dangereuse (Blu-ray/DVD Combo) (Bilingual) (Blu-ray)
This film is a kind of triple biopic, recreating a crucial period in the lives of psychoanalytic pioneers Freud, Jung and Sabina Spielrein in a manner that shows great respect for historical accuracy. But the interplay between the three, as played by Mortenson, Fassbender and Knightley, is so riveting that it comes across as a subtle and moving psychological masterpiece, not a museum piece.

I came to it having read a bit of Freud and a bit more of Jung, and was vaguely acquainted with their points of disagreement, but i was completely unprepared for the revelation of how their respective theories were shaped by their relationships, especially by Jung's relationship with Spielrein. Christopher Hampton's concise script and Cronenberg's impeccable direction create a vivid space in which the three leads, along with Sarah Gadon as Jung's wife and Vincent Cassel as Otto Gross, become living personalities grappling with challenges that are no less real today. It all looks beautiful on blu-ray, too! The result is a hugely entertaining film, and one you'll want to see again, just to witness (and maybe share in) the titanic struggles of soul that both Spielrein and Jung went through.

I've loved Cronenberg's more far-out creations such as Videodrome, The Fly, and Naked Lunch, but i'd have to say this is his best work yet. There's not much in the way of extras on this disk, but the edited interviews with him and the actors show how he's honed his art to the point that he's in complete control but also has complete trust in his actors. This is the perfect story for that kind of technique, as it creates just the right atmosphere for the whole film -- in a way, it's all about the psychological ambiguities and ambivalences of control (including self-control). A flawless work of art about people with fascinating flaws.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Clash of the psych titans, Feb. 23 2014
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
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"A Dangerous Method" is a movie that disserved by its trailer -- it looked like a movie that focused on Carl Jung having an affair with a masochistic mental patient. Well, yes, that does happen. But David Cronenberg's movie is less about the love affair and more about Carl Jung's fraying friendship with Sigmund Freud, and Viggo Mortensen and Michael Fassbender give exquisite performances. Sadly, Keira Knightley isn't up to their level.

Sabina Spielrein (Knightley) is incarcerated at a Swiss mental hospital, where she is psychoanalyzed by Carl Jung (Fassbender) -- and soon he is able to pinpoint the cause of her masochistic sexual behavior. Soon she's not only acting normally, but is studying to become a doctor herself.

Pleased by her progress, Jung speaks about her to the eminent Dr. Sigmund Freud (Mortensen), who views Jung as a surrogate son and heir to his well-regarded theories. At the same time, Jung continues working professionally with Sabina as she develops her own psychoanalytic theories -- and the two of them develop a passionate attraction.

Jung initially is reluctant to cheat on his loyal, beautiful wife. But after a sex-addicted psychoanalyst (Vincent Cassel) exhorts Jung to follow his urges, he falls into a passionate affair with Sabina. This throws a monkey wrench not only into his personal life, but it begins to interfere in his friendship with Freud -- and as Jung insists on following his own theories about myth and archetypes, his friendship with Freud begins to fall apart.

It takes a director as brilliant as David Cronenberg to not only get a movie like this made and released in theatres, but to keep it from becoming dull. Most of "A Dangerous Method" is made up of conversations about the human mind and how it works, slowly showing the audience that psychoanalytic theories are not really about the patient -- they are all about the shrinks and how THEY see the world.

And yet Cronenberg makes every scene, every conversation feel intense and sometimes passionate, no matter how dry the subject matter is. He makes you feel the intense passion of Jung and Sabina as they natter about their theories, contrasted to the rigid condescension of Freud. Things are intense even in a funny scene where Freud exhorts Jung to talk about kinky sexual practices at the dinner table.

And while Jung's sexual/intellectual affair with Sabina is important, the most important relationship here is the friendship with Freud and Jung, which flowers briefly before slowly decaying. Fassbender and Mortensen are absolutely spellbinding here -- one is a uncertain but passionate doctor who is seeking to explore new terrain in the human mind, and the other is an older, more entrenched man who refuses to explore different theories.

But Keira Knightley was not the right actress for this part -- she's not subtle enough to go toe-to-toe with Mortensen and Fassbender. Any displays of emotion look cartoonish and exaggerated, with her twitching and yo-yoing jaw. Even in the scenes where Sabina is composed, she feels over-the-top compared to the others.

"A Dangerous Method" is a very cerebral, "talky" movie, but it also is a powerful look back at the men and women who created psychology as we know it today. And while Knightley is embarrassing, Fassbender and Mortensen are astounding.
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3.0 out of 5 stars The Moment Lost In the Anti-Climatic!, Jan. 28 2013
By 
Ian Gordon Malcomson (Victoria, BC) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Dangerous Method (Blu-Ray/DVD Combo) / Une méthode dangereuse (Blu-ray/DVD Combo) (Bilingual) (Blu-ray)
The Canadian filmmaker and director David Cronenberg has produced some great horror movies over the years. Titles like "The Fly", "The Spider" and "The Dead Zone" immediately come to mind. I have always regarded him as brilliant in his ability to create the macabre out of natural life forms. So when he produced a movie on the stormy relationship between Sigmund Freud and his disciple Carl Jung, I sat up and took notice. Was there something in these two men's professional and personal lives that he could masterfully exploit to offer us as a special insight into the early world of modern psychiatry? Well, yes, there is and it comes in the form of a young female patient who briefly attached herself romantically to Jung in the early part of his career. Employing psychoanalysis - the use of probing questions as a method to get at the individual's subconscious state - Jung attempted to find the root cause of Sabina's deep mental anxiety. He quickly learned that much of her distress could be traced to the actions of an abusive and tyrannical father. At this point in the film Jung crosses the line of medical ethics and becomes her lover in an attempt to help her rebuild her trust in humanity. Jung is quickly developing his own form of therapy through dream interpretation that claims to go beyond what Freud advocates: the restoration of the soul. While the two men grew apart in their theories, Sabina eventually becomes cured, ever believing that both Freud and Jung were equally right in their interpretation of mental disorders. Unfortunately, her belief, based on her personal experiences, in the reconciliation of the two views was not enough to keep these two intellectuals working together to save the world from another war. In the end, the viewer is left with a few sad and sentimental reminders about where these three lives went after they parted ways in the thirties, each to their own personal nightmare. This production was definitely a different Cronenberg than I was used to but I certainly enjoyed his attempt to capture the defining moment when a vivacious young woman came between the master and his apprentice and helped to reshape the world of psychiatry as something more than analysis of all that plagues our mental being. The viewer might be excused if he or she missed the big moment in this film because it is lost in the tragic passage of time.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Early 20th century soap opera, Jan. 23 2013
By 
bookweasel (Calgary AB) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Dangerous Method (Blu-Ray/DVD Combo) / Une méthode dangereuse (Blu-ray/DVD Combo) (Bilingual) (Blu-ray)
Yes it is a true story but it looks like a soap opera. Lovely locations and costumes. Knightly demonstrating real skill as an actress. Sad to read the what happened subsequently post script.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Intéressant, surtout pour les mordus de psychologie, July 4 2012
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Je recommande ce film à tous les mordus de psychologie. Bien que l'histoire soit romancée, le film relate plusieurs faits historiques et biographiques sur quelques-uns des plus grands noms de l'histoire de la psychanalyse.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Cronenberg at his worst, Oct. 3 2012
This review is from: A Dangerous Method (Blu-Ray/DVD Combo) / Une méthode dangereuse (Blu-ray/DVD Combo) (Bilingual) (Blu-ray)
Having been a lifelong fan of David Cronenberg and having read the book Cronenberg On Cronenberg I completely understood why he made this book A Dangerous Method: The Story of Jung, Freud, and Sabina Spielrein into a film. Unfortunately he made it entirely painful to sit through. As authentic as it looks with the actual locations used, the characters leave little to be desired. I'm no expert on either Jung or Freud but both appear to be repressed flakes. Both Viggo Mortensen and Michael Fassbender deliver great performances but neither hold your interest and the constant "tell me about your dreams" dialogue between them only reinforces the flakiness of these two. Sabina is played by the ever vapid Keira Knightley and her performance just makes one laugh. I felt nothing for her character, and the twitchy underbite spasms she has only reminded me of a spastic shih tzu. Strangely enough, her psychological disorder quickly disappears and is never mentioned again, even though she spent almost a year in a mental hospital previous to meeting Jung. Knightley was right when she said to Cronenberg that she couldn't do this role. He was wrong when he said she could.

This would have been better released as a community network period piece than a theatrical film. The only relevance this film has is a cure for insomnia. Here's hoping David Cronenberg has now got all of this crap out of his system. Cosmopolis shows much more promise and is a good sign that he's back on track and doing what he does best.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best yet., July 12 2013
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Keira what more is there to be said. Everytime I watch one of her movies I'm more amazed. This movie was awesome.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A dangerous method, Dec 2 2012
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This review is from: A Dangerous Method (Blu-Ray/DVD Combo) / Une méthode dangereuse (Blu-ray/DVD Combo) (Bilingual) (Blu-ray)
One of those shows that sounds good and then when you watch it your like what???? Was not impressed by this show at all!
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great movie very untypical, May 29 2012
By 
Anthony Marinelli "marilread" (toronto on canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Dangerous Method (Blu-Ray/DVD Combo) / Une méthode dangereuse (Blu-ray/DVD Combo) (Bilingual) (Blu-ray)
I recall an old playwright commenting on modern films movies or culture that novels and films are built around shootings,divorce courts and detective stories but there is not intellectual entertainment which really concerns life. Well this seems kind of highbrow and though it is correct life is very complex we must make a story to appeal i guess to the attention level of the average person. I wonder in regards to leisure how much the average person reads. I mention this solely since the director Cronenburg has admitted this is not an average filmed aimed at an average audience but an intellectual film,rather than intellectual i would say a story about the inner life of characters dramatized to reveal psychological insights rather than a typical tv show or motion picture. As far as i'm concerned i'm interested in entertainment whether highbrow or lowbrow a good film can entertain and not entertain at both levels. This film certainly is highbrow...and it was originally taken up by julia roberts and was going to be made by her but for some reason nothing came of it. It was supposedly based on a book. It deals with a Russian student/patient/lover of sorts to jung,someone who was eventually to set up a psychoanalytic clinic in the soviet union,and her relations with Jung and the story is surprising. Jung was a psychiatrist who was around freud's circle,and certainly the most famous next to him,and he in turn arouses her seduces her and analyzes her
(and very much controls her!!)but from her perspectivd does this to bring about states in her,and it is not typical talk therapy. We do not know whether he received payment,making this certainly troublesome to figure out,and he also seduces her. He may have become suspicous of Freud,who he thinks may have developed an intellectual relationship with the same 'patient' almost like an intellectual companion which was his penchant,entertaining and relating to her on an intellectual level...and jung may be jealous since he has achieved a more lasting and fulfilling union than his more sensual arousal. This is the Jung who would later develop a religious therapy as opposed to the more rational perspective of Freud. This Freud is often criticized as well since the transgression of therepeutic morals here evinced by Jung,the director says may also have been transgressed by Freud,for is not his intellectual relationship a kind of union,though not sexual,just as bad as a friend-companion of this young girl. Vicarious emotional states are certainly important for any patient,and are just a simportant as more conscious states. The director also comments on the freudian link between sex and death as in old age,and how the unconscious mind often devolves into barbarity as evinced in world war 1. A problem of an over extended id. The director seems well read on the subject and has a great number of films in his repertoir and its interesting to look at this canadian director,but that's not why i've watched his films they are entertaining and goes uver ground not covered by others, making it fresh and appealing. The commentaries are very erudite in a film of a kind of menage a trois of sorts,also interesting you will find discussions of fathers over identifying with daughters,greek plays and the split of freud-jung. Freud in a way saw jung's behavior out of step with the actual experience,too intense experientially,like he was reacting against him like a father rather than in a proper sense....the title comes from a quote by william james,the brother of henry james. A point of all this which i found strange,was how the young student was able to keep a straight head between the two learned professors,and the commentator talks of whether this kind or relationship between patient and therapist of a sexual nature is illegal,not to mention the sending of phone calls and emails you never know who can get them,and the way people bond at different emotional levels or not bonding at all after a sensual experience,and allows us to see which therapy is the better therapy,of course freud would say he is talking its the patient in talk who may be aroused...a difficult subject and i think there are kernels of truth to be gleaned from both therapists,probably more from freud. Although the commentator negates jung's entry into religion as more religious than psychological,is not freud's negation of religious truth the same fatal error,for it equally posits a metaphysical truth of his own which intrudes into therapy,...its best to understand the patients own religous views and solely that,no therapist has a right to impose a positive or a negative religious truth which is important to them,into the patient's mind...i find both wrong in this area and its an area of their work i avoid...atheism and christianity are both religions!!
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