Reel Matt

This blog started as my movie marathon — watching a movie a day for a whole year — and has continued as a place for me to write reviews about movies, TV, and various other items.



Oscar Predictions

This is still a work in progress as I migrate from my old platform at Tumblr. For now, you can still access the whole backlog of posts there at

A Dangerous Method

Film #267


A look at how the intense relationship between Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud gives birth to psychoanalysis.

Year 1, Day 266

BEFORE: Continuing with an unintended historical theme (French and Indian War, Gulf War, now birth of psychoanalysis), A Dangerous Method takes today’s slot. I’m curious going in as, while I’ve heard a lot about Freud and his theories, I don’t really know much about them. Hopefully, this will be a good mix of entertainment and psychology lesson, because, well… I’ll just watch the film.

AFTER: Not liking A Dangerous Method would probably indicate some psychoanalytical thing to Freud and Jung and chances it would trace back to my childhood. That is after all their big theorem in psychology and is the basis of the film. I know I said going into the film I wanted to really learn about the science; have it be educational. Turns out, that’s exactly what I got but it’s not what I wanted. As I’ll explain, too much was focused on psychoanalysis and the development of Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen) and Carl Jung’s (Michael Fassbender) ideas.

The phrase, “everything in moderation” is important to analyze here with regards to A Dangerous Method. Ideas present in the film, those of word association tests, talking therapy, and analysis of dreams for example, are commonplace today - just think about any therapy scene in any film/TV show in the recent past. And the interesting thing about this film is you can see the origins of these ideas; where they came from. But it does so in an overbearing manner. Not only is the quantity of information way too much, but the delivery of this information is done in a not so effective way. The first reason is pretty self-explanatory: there’s just too much talking. Roger Ebert disagrees and says,

We are learning, yet never feel we’re being taught. Freud and Jung seem to be learning as well.

I feel like we are being taught and the reason why feeds into the second clause: the delivery of information. The film takes place over the course of ten years or so, beginning in 1904 and ending in 1912, with a good deal of exposition spoken through narration of letters being written. It felt like wall-to-wall dialogue; nonstop talking. So while it starts off fairly interesting because it piques your interest of the origins of psychoanalysis, the constant bombardment of words gets old fast.

A Dangerous Method met my expectations but it turns out my expectations were poorly thought out. As much as I like learning through film, as you may too, I think I can safely say that watching A Dangerous Method to learn about psychoanalysis is not the best decision you could make. It can get you interested in the idea, but you’ll be bored out of your mind by the end.

RATING: 2 out of 5