There's probably a fascinating, complex story behind the invention of the vibrator in 19th century London, but this silly farce isn't it. Instead, this is a comical romp that just happens to be set against the birth of the most popular sex toy in history. It's nicely assembled, with a strong cast, but the tone is so goofy that it never breaks the surface.
It's the late 1880s when young doctor Mortimer (Dancy) takes a job in London with Dalrymple (Pryce), who specialises in treating hysteria, considered a serious medical condition at the time, even though it seems to only afflict women whose husbands are neglecting them socially and sexually. As Mortimer courts Dalrymple's placid younger daughter (Jones), lining himself to take over the practice one day, it's the feisty older daughter (Gyllenhaal) who continually challenges his worldview. And as he treats his patients, Mortimer works with his friend Edmund (Everett) to create a mechanical vibrating device that has an immediate effect on his patients.
Everything in this story is played broadly, as if it's frightfully hilarious to talk about sex in such a straightforward way. But this prudish approach only trivialises everything about the story, from the premise to the characters themselves. And it doesn't help that the script never gives any of these people more than one or two key personality traits. The actors do what they can with them, adding moments of effective drama and comedy while hinting at the serious themes underneath the story. But it's so silly that we never really care about anything that happens.
Continue reading: Hysteria Review
In 1921 England, Florence (Hall) makes a fortune debunking fake psychics who claim to talk to the ghosts of Brits who died from war and flu over the previous decade. Her latest challenge is to solve a mystery at a private school in Cumbria, working with teacher Robert (West) and matron Maud (Staunton).
Rumour has it that the ghost of a schoolboy haunts the house, so Florence sets out to find out what's really going on. But she has her scepticism shaken to the core by some genuinely bizarre events.
Continue reading: The Awakening Review
With Run Fatboy Run, the directorial debut of Friends' David Schwimmer, Pegg moves up in the world and proves that he can, indeed, carry a movie. Written by Michael Ian Black, a seminal member of the comedy troupe/television show The State, Fatboy tells the story of Dennis (Pegg), a 1980s reject who gets the daft idea to leave his pregnant wife Libby (Thandie Newton) at the altar. A few years later, he has a gut, works security for a lingerie shop, and must vie for the attention of his son and once-fiancé against Whit (Hank Azaria), a healthy businessman who wants to marry Libby. This passive-aggressive tête-à-tête finally leads Dennis to attempting to compete in the same marathon as Whit.
Continue reading: Run Fatboy Run Review
I think I know what Austen's secret is: Her books are recent, but not modern. Her central characters have good manners and triumph over bad marriages or economic straits, instead of succumbing to their own vices or whining too much about their problems.
Continue reading: Mansfield Park Review
Charlotte Gray (Blanchett), a Londoner, joins the French Resistance after her pilot boyfriend gets shot down over France. When a fellow female spy is caught on her first drop-off assignment, Charlotte stays with local rebellion leader Julien (Crudup) and takes care of two Jewish boys whose parents have been captured. Meanwhile, she continues to meet with her contact to find ambush points for Julien.
Continue reading: Charlotte Gray Review
With that out of the way, The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain refers to the title character, Hugh Grant, who is given this wacky Welsh nickname as the result of some wacky events surrounding the wacky title hill/mountain.
Continue reading: The Englishman Who Went Up A Hill But Came Down A Mountain Review
The BBC drama starring Aidan Turner returns to BBC One on September 4th.
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