Last week my daughter and I went to go see Cronenberg’s “A Dangerous Method.” Normally I am a walking Flixster /Zagat guide but for some reason this movie escaped my radar. The title is generic and I must have instantly dismissed it, thinking it was some lame Nicholas Cage vehicle where he “does his own stunts!” and saves the planet. But as soon as I found out it was about Freud and Jung, I plotzed! I love psychoanalysis! Dreams, hidden symbolism, and genitalia! And when I found out Michael Fassbender and Viggo Mortensen were in it, I vajazzled and high-tailed it over to a matinee at the Scotiabank Theatre.
I still haven’t gotten over Michael Fassbender’s penis In “Shame,” just saying. I owe you interloping Googlers a link and here it is all NSFW. You’re welcome. Here’s Viggo, too, full monty....not the same, but jaunty nonetheless. I’d smoke it for a dollar.
Anyway, a brief historical synopsis: Freud developed the “talking cure” to help mentally disturbed patients in hospitals. In case you didn’t take Psychology 101, Freud is the one who coined the term “penis envy.” Everything is penis-based, whether you like it or not. I can get behind this. In his early career, he studied, observed, and dissected eels for 8 years to figure out their reproductive system. Can you imagine looking at eels all day? There’s a dim sum restaurant at Gerrard and Broadview that has an aquarium of eels in the window that gives me ants my pants just glancing at it. They intertwine and slither and slide in and out of the castle, no wonder he was so phallic obsessed. As a lady, am I jelly I don’t have a penis? Damn right. I’m bored with my box, it has no personality and all it does is cry.
One of Freud’s followers was Carl Jung who later challenged his theories in his text books. Jung was all about mysticism and believed in psychic phenomenon. He didn’t believe in coincidences. I can get behind that, too. I think we suppress a whole other layer of consciousness because we can’t see it and if we allowed our instincts to govern us, we would be a more harmonious world. Penises wouldn’t hold so much power and those havenots wouldn’t be so jealous and spiteful. We would all love each other and fill each other up with our symbiotic energy. Craigslist personals would have no reason to exist and nobody would be forever alone. Yes, it would be a giant non-stop orgy, nobody would get any work done.
The film depicts Jung and Freud striking up a friendship through their letters. When they finally meet, they yap for hours while stuffing their faces with food and cigars. At first they respect each other and Freud sends one of his followers for Jung to help, a Dr. Drew triple episode, a bipolar, coked up sex addict who treated his own patients with his healing penis. He’s played by Vincent Cassel who has artfully mastered the combo of sexy and sinister, he tries to convince Jung that boning patients is the way to go and is actually a valid method of therapy. Jung is adverse initially but starts to think: Why deny one’s basic impulse? Blahblahblah, the rationale of every man on the planet. The simple answer is: BECAUSE IT TURNS TO SHIT REAL QUICK.
This is not a buddy film, Jung and Freud never resolve their proverbial sword fight that inevitably happens because their theories clash. It is a cautionary love story and with some insight as to why married men are unfaithful. It’s more or less the result of impulse and opportunity giving each other a nod and a wink. Okay, nothing new there. But it’s just confirmation that men will eagerly cheat and there’s not much you can do about it. The antithesis of their wives is their porn. Men rarely marry their whores, they like their wives to be an extension of who they wish to be perceived as by society. Just look at any politician, his wife dresses in Talbots and his mistress is a pole dancer. Luckily, one man’s whore is another man’s wife, case in point: Ice T and Coco. The porn theory is the same: I bet if you checked his google history, you would find a lot of Martha Stewart YouTube clips of her baking bread from scratch.
Why Keira Knightley didn’t get nominated for an Academy Award, I have no idea. She plays Jung’s beastly Gollum-like crazy bitch mistress, Sabina, in stark contrast to his refined, impossibly beautiful (and rich!) wife who actually apologizes for being constantly pregnant and even more apologetic when she births out girls. Not that Carl cares, he’s busy mentoring Sabina. With a paddle, smacked in the ass. Again and again, Daddy. Not sure how historically accurate that part of the film was but it worked for me. Frankly, I’m getting bored with the usual cinematic sex scenes where the lady is on top licking her lips and whipping her hair around like a shampoo ad.
People and their fetishes never cease to amaze me. Until I meet the freak that unleashes mine, here is the trailer, I hope you groove to it as much as I did: