Posts Tagged ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’

Hysteria

Posted 02 Jul 2012 — by contributor
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Alice Shindelar

Hysteria, UK / France / Germany / Luxembourg, 2011

Directed by Tanya Wexler

Hysteria serves up a particularly dark period of feminine history and covers it in doilies and pink sparkles, until macabre 19th-century England coughs out an unlikely romantic comedy with yet another clumsy male lead and a punchy female love interest. Hysteria, directed by Tanya Wexler, serves up a particularly dark period of feminine history and covers it in doilies and pink sparkles, until macabre 19th-century England coughs out an unlikely romantic comedy with yet another clumsy male lead and a punchy female love interest. Worse yet, it’s not clear this film is a romantic comedy until the third act.

When I caught wind that a film with Maggie Gyllenhaal about the invention of vibrators would soon be released, Hysteria jumped to the top of my list of movies to see. The story follows Mortimer Granville (Hugh Dancy), a progressive young doctor who insists on washing his hands before operating on a patient, a revolutionary move at the time. Out of work, Granville applies for a job at the top clinic in London serving women with hysteria. His employer, Dr. Robert Dalrymple (Jonathan Pryce) informs him “half the women in London are effected.” For close to 2,000 years of European history, hysteria referred to a catch-all medical condition thought to cause everything from depression, to headaches, to a disinterest in copulation with one’s 30-second husband, a.k.a. any woman who wasn’t happy with a life of childbirth, corsets, and overall slavery to men.  Read More

Spoiler Alert! Some Thoughts On Twist Endings

By Ezra Stead

The Sixth Sense ruined twist endings for quite sometime after its 1999 release. Since M. Night Shyamalan’s much-ballyhooed 1999 feature The Sixth Sense, twist endings have gotten something of a bad rap, and usually with good reason. After all, in many cases they are a cheap way to add excitement to the climax of an otherwise dull story; sometimes they are a cop-out, negating all emotional involvement that may have been invested in a film up until that point; others seem to be the sole reason for a story’s existence, without which the whole thing crumbles. On the other hand, when they work, twist endings can make a good film great, and they occasionally even reward repeat viewings by revealing previously unseen layers that can only be recognized once the conclusion of the story is known.

As rightly reviled as are many recent examples of the technique, especially many of Shyamalan’s subsequent efforts, there are also many laudable examples to be found among some of history’s greatest cinematic achievements, old and new. Widely respected filmmakers from Alfred Hitchcock to David Fincher and Christopher Nolan have successfully employed the well-placed twist to wonderful effect, and even Orson Welles’s immortal classic Citizen Kane, considered by many to be the greatest American film ever made, concludes with what can only be deemed an elegant, emotionally rich twist ending. Read More