Set in the decade before WWI, this is the story of Carl Jung’s (Michael Fassbender) early application of Sigmund Freud’s new theories of psychoanalysis, as Freud didn’t seem to have much interest himself in actually treating patients. (While Freud seems to be played by James Mason, it’s actually Viggo Mortensen in prosthetics.)
Christopher Hampton’s script is based on his own play and most scenes are of two people talking, with enlivening interludes of Jung thrashing a half-dressed Keira Knightley (or at least once a week, ho ho). Keira plays Sabina Spielrein, whose childhood traumas are behind her masochistic bent. Jung successfully treats her, but discovers there has to be a boundary between therapy and involvement.
Low-key but engaging and witty, this is far from a ‘talking cure’ for insomnia. As with therapy, however, you shouldn’t go in expecting a clear-cut destination. 7/10
Released March 29, 2012.