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Film

Logical phallacy

OUT NOW! HYSTERIA's account of the invention of the vibrator works charmingly as a comedy but falls flat as a feminist critique.

Hysteria uses the ludicrous (and apparently true) history behind the invention of the vibrator to highlight the unfair treatment of women in Victorian England. As long as the focus is on the former, the film is a charmingly lighthearted comedy, following eager, puppy-faced Dr. Granville (Dancy) as he masturbates countless women to cure them of ‘hysteria’. The feminist angle that dominates the second half, however, is simplistic to the point of becoming trivialising, turning the plot into an amusing premise at the service of a vapid proposition.

Hysteria (In guten Händen) | Directed by Tanya Wexler (UK et al. 2011) with Hugh Dancy, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Rupert Everett. Starts December 22