Directed by David Cronenberg
From 10th February 2012
A movie revolving around the birth of psychoanalysis does not sound like
an enriching experience at the cinema but director David Cronenberg, usually
involved in producing horror-linked films, has successfully brought Christopher
Hampton's play 'The Talking Cure' to the big screen.
There are three main characters at the heart of the film: Sigmund Freud
(Viggo Mortensen), Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) and Sabina Spielrein
- given her track record as an actress surprisingly portrayed well by
She plays a Russian afflicted by major neurotic problems, notably as
a result of an abusive relationship with her father. She is referred to
Jung's psychiatric clinic in Zurich, where he becomes highly intrigued
by her mnetal condition and also becomes emotionally attached to her.
He is eager to use her as a guinea pig in applying Freud's newly evolved
He seeks the assistance of his mentor Freund, based in Vienna, to help
him further analyse her psyche, while at the same time he asks Jung to
treat his patient, the sexually supercharged psychologist Otto Gross (Vincent
There is a lot of dialogue in the film, not surprisingly given that it
was originally performed on stage, but it never becomes too ponderous
or resorts to psycho-babble. In essence, Freud is adamant that sex is
the root of mental illness and neurosis, whereas Jung has more outlandish
theories, encompassing telepathy and various other forms of psychic phenomena.
Jung's treatment of Spelrein results in her shedding a great deal of
her mental dilemmas - being spanked by him while staring into a large
mirror not being one of them! - to such an extext that she ibecomes his
lover and is then taken under his wing as a pupil, helping him in his
research work. She later builds a career in mental analysis but was executed
by the Nazis during the Second World War.