Director: Tanya Wexler
Hysteria is a period film set in the Victorian Era. It’s a romantic comedy which details how the diagnosis of women with hysteria led the invention of the vibrator.
Manual genital massage of women had been a medical remedy since antiquity, and hysteria was a recognized malady until the American Psychiatric Association discontinued this term in 1952. Joseph Mortimer Granville filed the first patent for an electromechanical vibrator termed Granville’s Hammer in about 1883. Granville, however, did not apply his invention in the treatment of hysteria; rather, he used it to treat muscular disorders. Other physicians started to apply the vibrator for the treatment of hysteria.” – wikipedia.
Maggie Gyllenhaal’s character Charlotte, a premodern feminist, runs a settlement house in a poor section of London and this aspect of her character further illuminates the discrimination against women in Victorian society.
According to medical practitioners at the time most female maladies caused by discrimination and lack of freedom could be remedied by genital massage(performed by male physicians).
Hysteria is not close to being a masterpiece, but it’s funny,enjoyable and educational, particularly for female audiences.
5 out of 10.
- Film Review: Hysteria (cinecopia.wordpress.com)
- Female Hysteria: 7 Crazy Things People Used To Believe About The Ladies’ Disease (wonderfultips.wordpress.com)