A Dangerous Method
David Cronenberg's latest film, "A Dangerous Method," recounts the relationship between two psychiatry pioneers, Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, in the early part of the 20th century. Michael Fassbender as Jung, Viggo Mortensen as Freud, and Keira Knightley as Jung’s patient and future psychoanalyst Sabina Spielrein. It's Jung around whom the story revolves, as a rising young intellect attempting to build on Freud's fledgling theories of psychoanalysis. In Cronenberg's version, we watch as their professional relationship evolves from student-teacher to one more like father-son, before eventually fracturing. Jung has a wife (Sarah Gadon) who spends most of the film either pregnant or lamenting that she's popped out yet another girl. It’s a stable, normal relationship, exactly the type of thing to send a driven man like Jung into the arms of another woman. He can’t help himself, and he has a willing and ready partner in Spielrein.
Knightley's Spielrein is a patient of Jung's during this time. With Spielrein’s committal and therapy sessions with Jung, she states, “I’m vile, filthy, corrupt!”, after admitting she found her father’s sexual and physical abuse arousing. The complexity of the situation is demonstrated by her academic and personal development. After an unusual on-off affair with Jung, whose disagreements with Freud are presented simultaneously, But it's her romantic relationship with her mentor, in addition to varied professional differences, that Cronenberg tells us is at the center of Jung's falling-out with Freud. There are reasons that doctors shouldn’t sleep with their patients, many of which surface during the course of Jung and Spielrein’s romance. As the relationship breaks down, things are further complicated by the fact that Spielrein is a psychiatric student herself, allowing her to analyze her doctor/lover right back. Spielrein eventually seeks out Freud to be her new analyst, which further poisons the Jung-Freud...
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