Hysteria is set in the 1880s in England, where modern medicine is just learning what germs are and no one will listen to the whippet slash renegade Hugh Dancy about it, so he finds himself at a lady clinic. The clinic specializes in “hysterical” women, ie sexually frustrated ones, and the doctor has designed a treatment, ie finger-banging. Hugh is really good at it so his appointment book fills up, and then he gets an old-timey version of carpal tunnel. By chance he and Rupert Everett invent the first vibrator. Dancy, better at period pieces, is very handsome and funny, but Maggie Gyllenhaal, as the rebel feminist doctor’s daughter, spends much of Tanya Wexler’s movie screaming in a self-righteous fury and frankly that act is worn out. Everyone is having a lot of fun, but there are too many double entendres and stepping in horse poop to take Hysteria as any kind of statement, feminist or otherwise.
Director: Tanya Wexler
Writer: Stephen Dyer, Jonah Lisa Dyer and Howard Gensler
Producer: Sarah Curtis, Judy Cairo and Tracey Becker
Cast: Rupert Everett, Hugh Dancy, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Felicity Jones, Jonathan Pryce, Anna Chancellor, Gemma Jones and Tobias Menzies