Many of you may already be familiar with Canadian director David Cronenberg’s tendency toward the risqué. Since 1969 he has been making critics cringe and fall in love with his films. 1996 saw one of his most controversial films–Crash, a film themed around people who get sexually aroused by car crashes--win the special jury prize at Cannes.
His films perpetually question human nature, society, and technology. Some others to keep your eyes out for in the video store or on Netflix: Videodrome, Eastern Promises, Existenz, and A History of Violence.
So it comes as no surprise, really, that in 2011 Cronenberg decided to make a historical drama about none other than the true story of the relationship between infamous psychiatrists Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud. Throw in a little dream analysis, word association and a beautiful young patient, and things quickly start to get extremely interesting.
A Dangerous Method follows the story of Carl Jung relatively early in his career, when he first began his own psychiatric practice and thus initiated many of his theories of dream analysis that persist in psychoanalytic theory to date. The story goes a little something like this: when Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley) arrives in his office for treatment, Jung treats her strictly as a patient at first, but quickly realizes once her condition begins to improve that not only does she have an interest in psychotherapy, but that he has an interest in her. He resists with all of his gentlemanly power until… an accidental yet passionate affair ensues. Amidst all of this, Jung develops rather interesting personal and professional relationships with fellow Psychiatrists Sigmund Freud and Otto Gross.
The most compelling seed in this story, however, is Jung’s determination not to cheat on his wife and to maintain the ethical codes of conduct prohibiting sex with patients, despite the blatant sexual advances of Miss Spielrein and the willing encouragement of his male colleagues. The man really tries, and it makes you almost understand how sometimes mistakes can happen truly by accident. Ultimately, as Gross points out at one point in the film, humans are meant to”never repress anything!” Not so sure I totally agree about that one, but it definitely makes for a hell of a ride.