Melina Gunnett

July 22, 2012

A Dangerous Method – Review

Filed under: Review — Tags: , , , , — Melina Gunnett @ 7:51 PM

I watched a dangerous method last night. When it was over I wasn’t sure exactly what to think, so I decided to sleep on it. Now that it is a new day and I have had time to think about it, I still don’t know what to think.

I really should like this movie, it seems to be rather well done and the characters are interesting, but I kept getting distracted. I probably missed something important at the beginning of the movie because I was staring at Keira Knightley and wondering what the hell happened to her. For some reason the normally beautiful Keira was transformed in to an cadaverous caricature for this film.

I did find her disturbing, if that was the goal (she was playing a mental patient at the beginning of the film) then kudos to the director, he succeeded. Personally, I think she is a good enough actor that she could have managed it without the being changed into a coat hanger and I doubt it as the reason anyway. They did not have her character gain weight to a healthy level as she got better.

The biggest problem I had with the movie is entirely my own. It was my own internal struggle of myth versus reality. I spent some time this afternoon researching Sabina Spielrein, she is a real person as are Jung and Freud and most of what took place is the movie appears to have really happened.  I was hopping researching the truth would help me resolve my own conflict, and while it did help me clarify what was causing my visceral reaction, it did nothing to resolve it.

When I picked the movie I knew that it as about a psychoanalyst that got involved with a patient, I just had not realized that it was Carl Jung – the Carl Jung, Sabina was one of his first patients and he was very young at the time. All excuses, although even he admits (as much as he actually admitted anything) that he knew better. While Sabina freely admits to the affair in her letters and diaries, Jung is always circumspect, even in his letters to her.

Jung has, in my mind become an archetype of a psychoanalyst. This is where I run into issues. I don’t want to see him as a human, complete with faults and weaknesses. I want to see him as the brilliant mind that understood the depths of our psyches and helped us develop a way to communicate with and understand them. At the same time, the movie (and the letters it is based on) also gives insight into how he came to have these understandings.

Perhaps I would be more understanding if he (Jung’s character) was not portrayed as such a distant, cold person. From everything I can find he was such a person, but could he not have let down his guard a bit in private with is wife or lover? It is a hard dose to see someones humanness without getting to a chance to see their humanity.

That said, the move does portray and accurate look at the relationships between the three primary characters, at least from the correspondence we have. While parts of the movie made me uncomfortable, it also made me think. It made me contemplate the characters, their actions and my reaction to them. I don’t think Freud, Jung or Spielrein could have ask for a better tribute to their work than that.


  1. I have yet to see this film. I adore Jung. I love Freud (and share a birthday with him…month-wise not year-wise) and I also have an affinity towards psychoanalysis. I have a hard time imagining Jung at all as a cold or distant person…maybe I will watch the film at some point, although now I feel a little hesitant. Thank you for writing this!

    Comment by Jennifer Stuart — July 22, 2012 @ 10:37 PM

  2. [Great|Awesome|Good|Fantastic|Excellent] post. Thanks!

    Comment by Eric Shupps — July 30, 2012 @ 1:36 PM

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