In Victorian London, Dr. Mortimer Granville, a young doctor struggles to establish himself. He is hired by a doctor to investigate treatments for women diagnosed with female hysteria using ‘pelvic massage’. The doctor’s two daughters develop an interest in the young Dr. Granville, each tempting to woo him.
Hugh Dancy as Granville Mortimer
Maggie Gyllenhaal as Charlotte Dalrymple
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A romantic comedy concerning the invention of the vibrator? Yes pleaseeee!
And with such actors as Hugh Dancy, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Rupert Everett, you have a success in the making! I recently managed to get hold of this new movie and I can’t tell you how much I loved this witty, hilarious period drama!
Set in the 1880′s, the story starts with a well-meaning doctor Granville (Hugh Dancy) looking for employment after being booted from his last position due to a disagreement with his old-fashioned boss. He ends up working for a Dr. Robert Dalrymple in what the movie delicately terms as ‘female medicine.’
In case you hadn’t heard, ‘hysteria’ was a term for a number of illnesses plaguing women in the Victorian era from headaches to paranoia to even boredom. The actual god-honest treatment? Masturbation performed on the patient by a doctor. Well, you can imagine how poor Granville felt, ‘handing’ out treatments to multiple patients daily (hehe).
But the movie handles it all surprisingly well. What could have ended up being a vulgar, cringe-worthy, inappropriate R-rated feature was instead very tastefully done with a great deal of tongue in cheek humor. We don’t see the actual process and it’s all handled as professionally as they must have been back in those days.
And my goodness, was it witty! Anyone with a love of intelligent drama will love this delightful movie. The characters were hilarious, especially Rupert Everett and the prostitute working as a maid in the doctor’s house added some naughty humor.
The movie was also about more than just the invention of the famous vibrator. It looked at how archaic science was back then, women’s rights and Mortimer Granville’s struggle with doing work that means something.
As for the romance, Hugh Dancy and Maggie Gyllenhaal have great chemistry and it’s the typical love-hate relationship thing. He’s actually meant to marry her sister which adds to the romantic tension. She’s everything he wants demure and lady-like whereas Maggie’s character is loud, feisty and unconventional. You can imagine how things go. The only thing I can say about this movie is that the romance could have been a bit more developed. It all wrapped up so fast: one minute they were in love and next they were together without much build-up.
You may be hesitant about the content but don’t be. Overall, this is a great, witty, romantic, well-acted, well-scripted movie that is a great treat for older fans of period dramas.
Historical Drama Rating: 4 and a half stars out of 5
Sexiness Rating: 4 out of 5
Hugh Dancy is always sexy and Maggie surprisingly fits well into period clothing and looks fresh and pretty. The chemistry is undeniable.