Finally making its way to theaters in the United States is the film Hysteria, starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and Hugh Dancey. The film is billed as a romantic comedy about the invention of the electric vibrator. It’s in a few theaters in Los Angeles and New York, and should arrive in additional theaters over the next few weeks.
As there is already a documentary and a well-researched tome on the topic of the electro-mechanical vibrator and its emergence in Victorian society, the science and technology in Hysteria will likely pale in comparison. Working from the synopsis of the film, it would seem that the most time spent on science and technology in the film will really be on the diagnosis of ‘hysteria’ and the social forces that shape both the diagnosis and the treatment. And while I certainly see where the humor can be in this film (mostly from embarrassment, but your mileage may vary), it seems like the people behind the film are trying too hard.