In 1904, Dr Carl Jung (played by Michael Fassbender) and Dr Sigmund Freud (by Viggo Mortensen) are both practising psychiatrists who are individually exploring new theories of psychoanalysis, particularly relating to trauma based in sexuality and behavioural aspects of anxiety. Sabina Spielrein (by Keira Knightley) a Russian woman with extreme anxiety, hysteria and trauma, has been delivered by her father to Dr Jung to see whether he can diagnose and treat her illness. Carl Jung is fascinated by the extreme nature of Sabina’s illness and he consults Dr Freud for his opinion. The two discover that their research is complementary, so they begin to compare notes and share ideas. Sabina undertakes a new course of treatment with Carl and during the sessions they become attracted to each other. The drama explores the relationship between Carl and Sabina; the impact of their attraction on Sabina’s illness, treatment and recovery; and the relationship each of them has with Dr Freud.
This is an interesting drama – and the gem in it is Keira Knightly. Her performance, particularly in the episodes of hysteria and anxiety is excellent. She is marvellous and totally uninhibited throughout. Michael Fassbender and Viggo Mortensen are impressive as they would have had to stick closely to history in the portrayal of their respective characters. Jung is fascinating in his total focus on his work, often to the detriment of everything else happening around him. I like Viggio Mortensen here, he is very articulate and not as I have seen him before. Quite marvellous.
Made in 2012. Directed by David Cronenberg