At first, in “A Dangerous Method,” I thought Sabrina Spielrein (Keira Knightly) is suffering from having been abused as a child. Then, we learn that she likes being punished and is going mad with the guilt and misunderstanding of her sexual masochism. As a last resort, thinking Sabrina is insane, her father has sent her to Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender), who has just begun to study a new “treatment” for people with mental problems. His older colleague, Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen) believes everyone’s problems and behavior revolve around sexuality and nothing else. He is also slightly jealous that Jung can do as many studies as he wants, travel in grand circles, and develop his theories of what becomes psychoanalysis because Mrs. Jung has lots of money. Eventually, Freud and Jung part ways when Freud refuses to consider other causal reasons that Jung puts forth regarding mental illness and human behavior.
Jung and Spielrein have an on/off sexual relationship over the years, while Mrs. Jung continues to fund her husband and present him with children. Freud, monogamous and the father of six children, meets and corresponds with Spielrein several times out of professional curiosity but does not encourage her views or her affair with Jung.
If you aren’t into contemplation, angst, history, and displays of masochism, there is some beautiful scenery in “A Dangerous Method.” However, there wasn’t enough of it for me to heartily recommend this movie.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.