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Based on a true story and highly influenced by the 2002 discovery of letters and diary of Sabina Spielrein.

Keira Knightley shines magnificently as Sabina Spielrein, a spastic, neurotic, but highly intelligent patient of the young Swiss doctor Carl Jung (methodically played by Michael Fassbender). While she is neurotic her intellect still reasons. In an early scene Sabina is in a pond as the men in white coats try to persuade her out.

The clinic director approaches her and says "You clearly have too much time on your hands. We must find something for you to do. What are your interests?"

Sabina, "Suicide and interplanetary travel." In this simple scene we can grasp her intellect and her issues.

Jung allows Sabina, (who wants to be a doctor) to act as his assistant, a task she does a little too well as demonstrated with her diagnosis of patients using word associtaion. Sabina has been abused by her father. Now it gets weird. He would slap her, then make her kiss his hand afterwards. He would also spank her bare bottom, something Keira confesses caused arousal, even at an early age. She would do things which would cause her to be spanked.

Carl Jung decides to consult some guy named Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen) about this case. Mortensen plays Freud somewhat stiff, for a guy who relates everything to sex. When cocaine snorting, womanizer patient (Vincent Cassel as Otto Gross) shows up at the clinic, his unethical ways cause Jung to question his life and his relationship with Knightly who now desires sex and a good spanking.

Freud is always pictured with a cigar in his hand or mouth(sometimes a cigar is just a cigar), but his other idiosyncrasies are not captured. Note the German custom of wearing the wedding ring on the right hand. He is involved in a lot of dialouge scenes about sex, repression, ego, and dream interpretation. What should be a five star movie from the cast, lacks action in the script and good drama in the dialouge, but does have an historical interest. Worth while rental.

f-bomb, sex, spanking, and nudity (Sarah Marecek, Keira Knightley)
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on May 17, 2012
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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on March 29, 2016
This is the worst I’ve seen “Keira Knightley Act, the pushing of the bottom jaw made me more scared in
the weirdest possible way, she was trying way too hard to play this deep mental anxiety patient, of which
the story was based on, did not work for me at all it’s way too short for my taste,
Fassbender & Mortensen and Cassel for that matter was their usual self, Good,
and to me there has to be more to this that’s missing, to tell this story in under two hours is just laziness,
on David Cronenberg part, I mean really their has to be more, I say this a lot if you don’t get the backing from
the studio or the funds, it’s a bummer trying to move forward with limited imagination for your product,
but the one thing I have to say is watching an reading these top 50 reviewers psychoanalyzing this into a analytical
penance for the reader, it’s almost like there’re trying to make you pissed off at them, it’s hard for people to analyze
a movie without giving away the finer points of the movie, I’m going to sit on my white horse an ride an no one
can stop me, that’s coming from them, I’m giving it two stars one each for Fassbender an Mortensen,
Runtime 99 Min.
English 5.1 DTS-HD Master.
It Should’ve Been More Than What Was Given Here..
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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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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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TOP 500 REVIEWERon March 28, 2012
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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on October 2, 2015
Wonderful cast! Keira Knightly isn't only beautiful but talented; able to portray a distracted and desperate woman searching for her own interpretation of her psychoanalysis. Very entertaining and costume drama like, yet not suitable as a factual documentary or what have you.
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on July 4, 2012
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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on January 23, 2013
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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on October 3, 2012
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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