Letter From An Alien: A Dangerous Method

Posted: February 28, 2012 in Freud, Identity, Letters From An Alien, Masculinities
Tags: , , , ,

Some notes on seeing A Dangerous Method:

I hate Keira Knight­ley usu­ally but I thought she acted quite well in this.

I liked how her con­tor­tions of emo­tional pain were exactly the same expres­sions in tone, as when she was approach­ing orgasm due to the beat­ings from Jung.

The por­trayal of female masochism as a result of child­hood ‘abuse’ was pre­dictably lame, though I thought. Isn’t sado-masochism really a NORMAL part of sexuality?

Also Fassbender/Jung just was not believ­able as a ‘dom­i­nant’ man but is any man?

I also thought that she ‘recov­ered’ rather too straight­for­wardly with her recov­ery being sig­ni­fied by mar­riage and pregnancy.

The actor who played Freud made it for me he was very con­vinc­ing. He had a pres­ence I imag­ine Freud would have had. He also showed that Freud may have been a dif­fi­cult man.

As I said to you before, my favourite scene was on the boat where Freud refused to tell Jung his dream because it would under­mine his ‘author­ity’. How apt.


  1. marc2020 says:

    The actor who played Freud is (if you’re interested) is Viggo Mortensen whose been a respected actor for years before he shot to fame playing Aragorn in Peter Jackson’s adaptation of Lord of the Rings trilogy.

    David Cronenberg has worked with him twice before in A History of Violence and Eastern Promise I guess you could say Mortensen is to Cronenberg what De Niro was to Scorsese anyway both films I think you’d I enjoy as they both deal with masculinity in a way that much like some of his other themes from his passed work like sex, repression and the human body are quite uncompromising he really trys to get under the skin of it.

    It’s interesting you mention his treatment of Keira Knightley ‘s character in the film as some critics have theorised that Cronenberg may have some issues with women especially in his film The Brood but I’ve never really seen that aspect myself.

    As you can probably guess I’m a big Cronenberg fan so I will defiantly be seeing this at some point.

  2. Alex says:

    Odd. The thing that frustrated me about it was that I thought they didn’t explain her masochism. She said, almost straight off the bat, that the first time her father spanked her, she liked it. Whatever deep, dark thing in her psyche triggered her masochism was there already. Plus then, not only was her masochism treated with a good, old-fashioned spanking, rather than being treated pathologically, it inspired her theories and turned a psychoanalysis conference upside-down. I’d say it was surprisingly good at female masochism.

    • but if her dad had not beaten her it would not have been unleashed was how they were presenting it.

      and they did pathologise her masochism because she was ILL.

      It was not so much the spanking but Jung’s support and therapy that was shown to help her – he encouraged her to study and be a doctor.

      • Alex says:

        See, the impression I got was that her complaint wasn’t the masochism, but her repressing of it. I thought they red-herringed you quite nicely early on into thinking she’d been abused (the stuff about “humiliation”, and getting upset when he thwacked the coat) but then you saw the problem was that she liked it and was trying to repress the fact. Cure – shame-free spanking.

        Even if her dad “unleashed” it, that still implies it was there already. And the fact that her masochism was untraceable back to any kind of neurosis was one of the reasons she could use it to develop her masochist’s take on the roots of sexuality.

  3. what about Freud and Jung? what was wrong with them? why is the focus of the ‘neurosis’ on the woman? the patient?

    i think Freud and Jung were a bit fucked up too.

    • Ginkgo says:

      Why else does anybody go into that field anyway? They were the main story, you are quite right.

      BTW, if you have some good tranquilizers have a look at The Road. Do it on an empty stomach. Viggo Mortensen excels again.

    • Alex says:

      I thought the whole thing was about Jung’s daddy issues with Freud and Freud being a smug impenetrable prick. At least Sabine ended up cured and well-spanked.

      • I see your point there. They definitely showed her going through a process more than the other two.

        • Alex says:

          They also had that line about how hard Jung insisted on being sane and normal and really really normal. And the focus on Sigmund “this is all down to your daddy issues and fear of castration” Freud as the movement’s oblivious patriarch was definitely pretty funny.

          • agreed. I have just read his Autobiographical Study and I got the same sense about him there.

            He was a control freak.

          • I also thought he came across as a bit paranoid. He bonded with Salperin because she was Jewish and didn’t trust Jung, in part, because he was aryan.

            On Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 12:01 PM, Elly wrote:

            > agreed. I have just read his Autobiographical Study and I got the same > sense about him there. > > He was a control freak. > >

          • Alex says:

            Oh, I absolutely loved that though. When Jung said it didn’t matter that they were mostly Jewish and Freud pointed out what “a Protestant thing to say” it was, and then Spielrein’s thing for “blond Siegfrieds” – was pretty much what was going on in Vienna’s Jewish circles at the time.

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