Friday Film Review: A Dangerous Method


After many missteps and thwarted plans, I finally got to see A Dangerous Method. I don’t know how accurate it was–though it seemed so– but to watch Freud and Jung working together, fencing with each other’s ideas and techniques, is intriguing. History usually sets them in direct opposition to each other–and they saw themselves that way as well after their infamous break–but I see them as simply taking and following two different paths. Jung deals with humanity at large, with myths and archetypes; Freud with the individual, with the conscious and the sub-conscious.

The film is marvelous, hinting at what Jung is about to discover, what he begins to question about Freud; marvelous with Sabina Spielrien talking about anima and animus to Jung, arguing eros and thanatos with Freud; and ominous with the small undertones of the fomenting friction between Jewishness and Aryanism: Wagner’s Siegfried and Spielrien’s Judaism, Jung’s dream of an apocalypse coming from the north and washing Europe with blood, Freud’s concern that his work will be disparaged as the perversity of Jewish doctors.

Jung, it seems, had to break with Freud, just as the son has to break with the father. In fact, Jung’s father complex with Freud seemed quite evident. Although we are dealing with a film and the demands of drama and a story-arc, Jung seems much more fragile than I had imagined. The film ends with his seeming quite shattered–which historically he was–but it was still surprising to see such a towering figure so broken.

All in all, I loved it…and it is sending me to find the book it was based on by John Kerr, plus anything at all on Sabina Spielrien–a relatively forgotten figure in the beginnings of psychoanalysis.


3 thoughts on “Friday Film Review: A Dangerous Method

  1. Good review. The performances are good, even though Knightley may be over-acting quite a bit, and it looks great, but the film also just feels like a series of vignettes with no real feeling or drama to it. Basically what I’m trying to say was that I was bored and this story just never really got off the ground.

    • Hey. Sorry for the delay in replying to,your comment. Your comment had initially gone into my spam file which I do not check regularly. I agree with you about Knightley, particularly in the beginning when her madness was most disruptive. However in my subsequent readings there is mention of her protruding jaw/chin during her “seizures,” though I don’t know how much was won or lost, with this film, in this attempt at authenticity. The Freud/Jung relationship has long been an amateur fascination of mine which is perhaps why I reacted so to the movie.

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