Based on true events, Hysteria is the story of Mortimer, a young doctor whose ambition and dedication to new medical practices ultimately alienate him, leaving him jobless. Mortimer looks incessantly for a job, eventually becoming the understudy of doctor who specializes in Hysteria. While there Mortimer struggles with his profession due too consistent hand cramps, leading him to the accidental invention of first vibrator, which was made for the sake of medical science. Tanya Wexler's Hysteria is really a romantic comedy with grander ambitions. It's a film more so about the liberation of women, not just sexually, but as free-thinking individuals who are equal to their male counterparts. Charlotte Darlrymple, a women not afraid to speak her mind, is the ultimate target of Mortimer's affection and essentially the person who represents this needed social change and/or liberation of woman. The main problem with Hysteria is it's reliance on a unique and interesting story. I say this because everything else about this film is bland from the script to the visual design. At times the script features some terribly pointed dialogue which feels out of place, simply there for the sole purpose of driving the characters and theme forward in an intrusive way. Given the subject matter, I was really hoping for a fun, unique farce of sorts but instead the film just plays everything too safe. It's not nearly fun or profound enough to be interesting and at times the film seems more concerned with laughing at the old-time methods and practices of medicine instead of actually investing in the world and relying on Mortimer, our main protagonist, to drive the story of medical and social change. Hysteria is a film that sadly relies far too much on it's interesting premise, becoming forgettable because of it's inability to take the necessary risks.
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