Hysteria – the movie

Our hero, Mortimer Granville (played by Hugh Dancy) flirts across the table with his boss’s daughter, Emily Dalrymple, prettily played by Felicity Jones.

My favourite character, Charlotte Dalrymple, feistily played by Maggie Gyllenhaal.


On the plus side:

–       luscious costumes on gorgeous looking people

–       some great laughs

–       an eye-opener in terms of how slow the world (or perhaps British culture) was to understand female sexuality

–       an eye-opener about how dismissive medical diagnoses were when they labelled women’s health issues as “hysteria” – a diagnosis still supported until relatively recent times.

On the minus side:

–       Was the movie trying to have a quid both ways by, on the one hand, casting joke characters as the women who sought relief and, on the other hand, defending women whose situation in the Victorian era was intolerable? Men have sought sexual relief since time immemorial. Those who do so are seen as studs, not contemptuous. There was something slightly sick about the movie.

In balance:

–       So glad I went! It’s worth sitting through the credits at the end to see the development of the Victorian development of the vibrator into modern sex toys. That’s where we really did laugh!

I had not previously realised that the ticklish topic of the vibrator was so well rooted in gender politics.





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