THE BUZZ: What do you mean? It’s a movie about vibrators. Of course there’s buzz. It’s all about the buzzzzzzzzzzing.
THE GENRE: A Jane Austen-esque RomCom with a healthy dose of libido and a hit of Dr. Strangelove
THE PREMISE: Hysteria is billed as the ‘mostly true’ story of the invention of ‘Personal Massagers’
It’s the 1890s and women across the globe are suffering from what’s been diagnosed as Hysteria. Today, we call this widely known syndrome Female Moodiness and plain old Sexual Dissatisfaction.
Enter the brilliant Dr. Robert Dalrymple who has discovered a mind-blowing solution: clinical masturbation to bring on ‘paroxysms’. His practice, surprise-surprise, becomes overrun with patients, aka satisfied customers.
Joining him in curing the hysteria of the women of London, a young doctor, Mortimer Granville (handsomely played by Hugh Dancy), soon finds that his cramping hand isn’t up to the orgasmic task it must play between women’s thighs. That is, until his best friend, Edmund St. John-Smythe, invents the vibrating feather duster.
Toss in a Victorian love triangle, a suffragette, and Everett’s gay mad scientist along with a pile of horse poop, and you’ve got the makings of a total gigglefest.
The Review: A laugh-out-loud look at what’s become a mainstream topic (thank you once again, 50 Shades of Grey). Tons of titters, and no cringing at all – despite what you’d imagine watching Victorian men bring a variety of women patients to startling orgasm. There are a few serious moments about women’s rights, and some subtle commentaries on the British class system, all handled with an elegantly light touch.
We won’t spoil the ending, but it sort of makes you want to take your personal rabbit and go home.
Special kudos go to Hugh Dancy and Jonathan Pryce for keeping straight faces whilst masturbating a plus-size opera singer. Highlights also include blow-job face by the sassy prostitute-turned-maid, and Rupert Everett’s flamboyant inventor. We loved Maggie Gyllenhaal’s complicated Charlotte Dalrymple, and were tempted to give Emily Dalrymple (Felicity Jones) a big push into the pool.
THE VERDICT: So much fun. Even my husband, who calls every British film Howard’s End will enjoy Hysteria (they had him at Vibrator). However, the film is best served with your girlfriends and a big bucket of popcorn. We give it a full box of Ben Wa Balls.
THE CAVEAT: You might not want to see this movie with your mom. Unless she’s a passion party consultant or a really cool lady.