A Dangerous Method

True to his¬≠to¬≠ric facts, Cronenberg‚Äôs A Dan¬≠ge¬≠rous Method holds some inter¬≠es¬≠ting sur¬≠prises ‚Äď natu¬≠ral¬≠ly, consi¬≠de¬≠ring the direc¬≠tor and the actors‚Äô work on the subt¬≠lest sta¬≠ging details. (See the Cro¬≠nen¬≠berg inter¬≠view). Some of those details lie on the more comi¬≠cal side, such as Freud‚Äôs character. 

So far I had ima¬≠gi¬≠ned Freud in dif¬≠ferent ways, but the idea of a Vien¬≠nese cigar-mun¬≠ching God¬≠fa¬≠ther had not occur¬≠red to me. Cronenberg‚Äôs Freud comes across as a slow tal¬≠king, some¬≠times cyni¬≠cal, some¬≠times des¬≠pi¬≠cable plot¬≠ter of ins¬≠ti¬≠tu¬≠tio¬≠nal schemes. A hard-nosed pro¬≠fes¬≠sio¬≠nal sub¬≠ver¬≠sive who seems impres¬≠sed only by the ever-gro¬≠wing anti-semi¬≠tism that besieges him and his new science. And when Jung final¬≠ly falls out of favour, the only sense that comes to Freud‚Äôs mind is his desi¬≠gna¬≠ted successor‚Äôs ¬ę Aryanism ¬Ľ. 

With Spiel¬≠rein and Jung‚Äôs res¬≠pec¬≠tive cha¬≠rac¬≠ters, things imme¬≠dia¬≠te¬≠ly seem to run dee¬≠per. The first time we see Spiel¬≠rein, she‚Äôs lite¬≠ral¬≠ly how¬≠ling mad. But she seems to get bet¬≠ter with an asto¬≠ni¬≠shing speed, each and eve¬≠ry time Jung addresses her like a nor¬≠mal human being. One can only ima¬≠gine what it must have been like in the asy¬≠lums of the late 19th and ear¬≠ly 20th cen¬≠tu¬≠ries. But Bleu¬≠ler and Jung‚Äôs Burgh√∂lz¬≠li looks very much like the Anti-Psy¬≠chia¬≠trist‚Äės dream. Patients, not inmates, are being cared for, offe¬≠red inter¬≠es¬≠ting humane work and most of all are trea¬≠ted like ful¬≠ly res¬≠pon¬≠sible grown-ups. In this uto¬≠pian castle, Spiel¬≠rein not only turns out to be the gif¬≠ted psy¬≠cho¬≠lo¬≠gist that Jung sus¬≠pec¬≠ted right away, but she also learns how to accept and enjoy her sexual fantasies. 

Read the full ver¬≠sion on Blog‚Äč.psy‚Äčcha‚Äčna‚Äčlyse‚Äč.lu