Augustine Image
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74

Generally favorable reviews - based on 14 Critics What's this?

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  • Starring: , , , , , , , , ,
  • Summary: 19-year-old kitchen maid Augustine suffers an inexplicable seizure that leaves her partially paralyzed and is shipped off to an all-female psychiatric hospital specializing in the then-fashionable ailment of 'hysteria'. Augustine captures the attention of renowned neurologist Dr. Charcot19-year-old kitchen maid Augustine suffers an inexplicable seizure that leaves her partially paralyzed and is shipped off to an all-female psychiatric hospital specializing in the then-fashionable ailment of 'hysteria'. Augustine captures the attention of renowned neurologist Dr. Charcot after she has another attack that appears to give her intense physical pleasure. Intrigued, he begins using her as his principal subject, hypnotizing her in front of his fellow doctors. As Augustine displays her spectacular fits in lecture halls, the lines between doctor and patient become blurred, radically changing the course of both of their lives. [Music Box Films] Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 14
  2. Negative: 0 out of 14
  1. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    May 16, 2013
    100
    Everything depends on the subtlety of the direction and the charisma of the performances. Augustine is intellectually satisfying partly because it communicates its ideas at the level of feeling, through the uncanny power of Soko’s face and body.
  2. Reviewed by: Tomas Hachard
    May 12, 2013
    88
    Alice Winocour's take on this true story carries the superficial trappings of a period drama, but its perspective is entirely contemporary.
  3. Reviewed by: Leslie Felperin
    May 10, 2013
    80
    Anchored by two intense, intertwined perfs by veteran Vincent Lindon and relative newcomer Soko, a musician who also composed the pic’s growling, atmospheric score, this period drama offers a coolly febrile study of madness, Victorian sexual politics and power.
  4. Reviewed by: Sheri Linden
    May 16, 2013
    80
    The film's dark beauty and the quiet intensity of the performances have a discomforting pull.
  5. Reviewed by: Mark Jenkins
    May 16, 2013
    70
    Ultimately, Winocour does stage an instance of what could be called love. It's unconvincing narratively, alas, and an odd disruption of the tone in a film that is otherwise bracingly clinical.
  6. Reviewed by: Ignatiy Vishnevetsky
    May 15, 2013
    67
    It’s ironic that a movie about social restrictions is at its best when it restrains itself—that is, when it treats its characters as characters rather than figures, and its plot as drama rather than statement.
  7. Reviewed by: Bill Stamets
    Jun 26, 2013
    50
    An obliquely clinical love story.

See all 14 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 1 out of 1
  1. Jul 12, 2013
    3
    “Augustine” is the (fictionalized) story In the late 19th century of a real neurologist, Jean-Martin Charcot (Vincent Lindon), who was“Augustine” is the (fictionalized) story In the late 19th century of a real neurologist, Jean-Martin Charcot (Vincent Lindon), who was exploring a cure for ‘female hysteria’ using hypnosis and the science of the nervous system in Paris. Two years ago there was a (fictionalized) story from Britain about a real physician Mortimer Granville, who was exploring the cure for female hysteria in the late 19th Century, with a film called “Hysteria”. The latter was a romantic comedy and the former a dark drama.

    “Augustine”, the title character played by a French singer-actress Soko, is dark in more than the screenplay by Alice Winocour, who also directed, with extraneous scenes and not enough explanation of what caused Augustine’s hysteria (except maybe that at 19 she still hadn’t menstruated) or how Charcot cured her. He seems to have been a dour ‘showboater’ who didn’t have feelings for anyone which makes the one scene he does show feeling fall flat. He uses Augustine for demonstrations and to acquire funding for his studies while she is being awakened to her sexuality and falling in love with her doctor.

    The photography by George Lechaptois, certainly under the direction of Winocour, is too dark in many scenes to the point that you really have no idea what is going on and, in some cases, who are in the scene.

    Lindon is cold, showing very little feeling even to his wealthy wife Constance, played on just the right key by Chiara Mastroianni while Soko embodies the 19 year old illiterate, voluptuous Augustine. Most of the other actors play minor roles with Olivier Rabourdin, playing the medical hypnotist working with Charcot, the only one with enough screen time to be noticed. Roxane Duran, playing Rosalie, a friend of Augustine’s at the beginning of the movie, is forgotten almost as soon as Charcot comes on the screen, and you forget she was in the movie.

    “Augustine” does accomplish the fact that you want to know more about Jean-Martin Charcot and whether Augustine is a real person sending you to google and bing them, in which case there is no need to see the movie.
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