Watch A Freaky-Ass Movie

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Last week I had the pleasure of studying Psychoanalysis during one of my workshops. Don’t ask me what that really has to do with English Literature, but I’m not complaining. It was a breath of fresh air, and although I nearly didn’t make it out of bed for the 9:15 start, I am so pleased that I did. We were learning about the methods of Freud and Joseph Breuer who were real pioneers in their field of psychoanalysis and finding ways of curing people with serious mental conditions such as ‘hysteria’. Their method of choice was the ‘Talking Cure’ which is today’s counselling – aka talking through all of your problems with a therapist or psychiatrist. 

In my workshop we learnt about the way in which Breuer, in the case of ‘Anna O’, would sit with her for weeks at a time, for hours and hours a day, talking about fairytales and going over her memories to try and cure her hysteria. Her condition had started when her father fell ill, and it had such dramatic consequences as to cause paralysis, anorexia and the inability to speak in her mother tongue, instead reverting to English. Many critics believe that Breuer got a little too close to Anna O, and that although he may have been unaware of the situation, they think that Anna certainly had an infatuation with Breuer, possibly bordering on a kind of love for her doctor. 

Anyway, this brilliant workshop led to a decision to watch the film A Dangerous Method today, which stars Keira Knightley. Incidentally, this movie did come out last year, but I had never even heard of it. And now I realise why. It was terrible. It was based on psychologists Freud and Jung and their dealings with patient Sabina Spielrein, who had deep psychological problems which began when her father started beating her at age four. I won’t go into the nitty gritty details, but the story behind her father’s beatings and the effect it had on ‘Sabina’ was disgusting. Whether that was totally true, or part Hollywood, I’m not sure. It was an interesting plot – ish – but it was just quite farfetched and full of weird sex and horrible revelations that just weren’t backed up by anything cinematically amazing. Even the backdrop of New York, when the characters travelled there on a boat, was unmistakably a piece of paper with the Statue of Liberty painted on it.

Definitely read up on Freud, Breuer and Jung. They are fascinating characters and the patients they treat and the cases they document are so interesting to read today. But do not, I repeat, do not! go and see A Dangerous Method. 

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