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Mixed or average reviews - based on 33 Critics What's this?

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6.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 20 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , , ,
  • Summary: Hysteria, a mischievously inspired romantic comedy set in the late 19th century, is based on the surprising truth of how Mortimer Granville came up with the world's first electromechanical vibrator in the name of medical science. The film stars Academy Award nominee Maggie Gyllenhaal and Hugh Dancy, alongside Jonathan Pryce, Rupert Everett and Felicity Jones. (Sony Pictures Classics) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 33
  2. Negative: 2 out of 33
  1. Reviewed by: Lisa Schwarzbaum
    May 16, 2012
    91
    Whenever Rupert Everett appears as a rich fellow who distinctly does not fancy ladies, it's a hysterical history lesson of the hilarious variety.
  2. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    May 23, 2012
    75
    The performances are spot on, and I especially like the spunky Gyllenhaal, who with this film and the underrated "Secretary" (2002), has built up a nice sideline in sexual exploration.
  3. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    May 17, 2012
    65
    The picture is at least spirited, a jaunty trifle that's low on eroticism but high on cartoony coquettishness. Like the little motorized whatsit that is its subject, it does have its charms.
  4. Reviewed by: Jeannette Catsoulis
    May 22, 2012
    60
    Hysteria, a disappointingly limp ode to the invention of the vibrator, plays like a Merchant Ivory Production of "Portnoy's Complaint."
  5. Reviewed by: Kimberley Jones
    Jun 13, 2012
    50
    Rather born to wear a frock coat, Dancy shares the stammer-blush, winning-grin methodology of countryman Hugh Grant, only with more probity and better posture.
  6. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    May 24, 2012
    50
    In fact, the problem with the film is that, despite an excellent cast that includes Maggie Gyllenhaal, Hugh Dancy and Rupert Everett, it doesn't really know what it is. A little of this, a little of that and by the time it's done, it adds up to not much at all.
  7. Reviewed by: Kate Taylor
    May 17, 2012
    25
    Unfortunately, Hysteria is much closer in its effects to a more significant and much larger 19th-century invention. Like the locomotive, this costume drama proceeds noisily and methodically toward a destination that is agreed upon from the outset. Good orgasms and good movies generally offer surprises; good trains do not.

See all 33 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 5
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 5
  3. Negative: 0 out of 5
  1. Jun 11, 2012
    8
    Only the British could make a film about the invention of the vibrator and indicate women having orgasms without showing couples having sex or anyone being rude, or crude, using the â Expand
  2. May 20, 2012
    7
    Just a fun, fun film. Rupert Everett is fantastic in a small role - his chemistry with High Dancy is excellent. It's an interesting film about women and the development of the vibrator, but it makes larger statements about the eventual women's movement. My primary issue with the film is that Maggie Gyllenhaal's character says things that a woman of her era obviously would not have. They took thoughts and statements of someone living 50 years later and stuck them in her head - which is fine, we can have a little artistic license now and then. It just felt forced and awkward here. Expand
  3. Apr 29, 2013
    7
    A well made and pretty funny movie. This is a movie I thought could be really cheesy but thankfully it hits more than it misses. I recommend you at least check this film out once. Expand
  4. Jun 21, 2012
    6
    This fact-based film explores the birth of the vibrator. In the 1880s, women where often diagnosed with hysteria, which was treated by a doctor who masturbated them into contentment. After one popular young physician (Hugh Dancy) becomes immobilized by his overused hand, he stumbles upon the beneficial invention. It's obvious how every aspect of this story will play out after the first 10 minutes. So it's all about the execution. The direction is genteel with typical British aplomb and the performances are enjoyable. The standout is Maggie Gyllenhaal as the socially-conscious troublemaker. Overall, it's a mildly amusing, but undistinguished history lesson. Expand
  5. Jun 26, 2013
    6
    A true story about the invention of the vibrator. It's a period piece.

    Had to get the pun in.

    This film was much more entertaining than
    I intended, and I enjoyed watching it. The film is very much light hearted, which I believe leads to it's downfall, as it can never achieve greatness as it is too fluffy round the edges... I wanted some more depth... It needed to be longer.

    OK... Enough innuendo.

    Gyllenhaal is strong in the film, with a great British accent, and everyone is good, with Jonathon Pryce being present also which just makes it better.

    It is no classic, but it is fun and entertaining because you feel the actors are having a good time also.
    Expand

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