Maggie Gyllenhaall, Hugh Dancy and Jonathan Pryce are mothers of invention in their new film “Hysteria.” It’s about the advent of female orgasms, which women have been faking ever since.
The romantic comedy also stars Rupert Everett, Felicity Jones, Ashley Jensen, Gemma Jones, Anna Chancellor, Tobias Menzies and Georgie Glen.
The film is also an exploration of the female orgasm as women came into their own during an era that was known for propriety, but was far racier than history suggests.
The movie focuses on Dancy and Pryce, who are doctors that specialize in treating a 19th century malady, known broadly as female hysteria.
To provide more effective treatment, the two invent a crude vibrating phallus. Gyllenhaal plays Pryce’s fiery daughter who takes a keen interest in their work.
Treatment for women suffering from hysteria would involve a “pelvic massage,” a polite way of saying masturbation, until the patient experienced “hysterical paroxysm.”
The once-common medical diagnosis, exclusive to women, has been discredited and is no longer recognized as a mental disorder.
But that makes the movie all that much more hysterical. Check out the trailer.