May. 30, 2012 - Issue #867: Nextfest 2012
The film, scripted by Stephen Dyer and Jonah Lisa Dyer, is loosely based on the true story of one Mortimer Granville, played here by Hugh Dancy. Granville was a doctor and an idealist who lands a gig helping a fellow physician perform vulvar massages on patients suffering from hysteria. Apparently it was presumed that an overactive uterus was the most common cause of that demeaning and widely diagnosed (to women almost exclusively) malady that plagued London back in the day. The big repeated gag is that these guys somehow don't understand that they're essentially handing out handjobs to sexually frustrated society ladies, not even when these ladies are furiously writhing and moaning as they reach "satisfactory paroxysm." Ha ha.
Meanwhile, there's Charlotte (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a suffragette who works with the city's downtrodden. Charlotte and Mortimer initially get off on the wrong foot, which means we'll have to wait a while for the movie to force them into each other's orbit of endearment as it awkwardly applies a few screwball tropes. But the romance is just the sideshow to the main attraction: the rise of the vibrator, something that may never have occurred if Mortimer and his finger-popping colleagues didn't suffer such debilitating hand cramps. By the finale even Queen Victoria gets her kicks courtesy of the little love machine. A pretty lame movie, but it certainly has a happy ending.
Directed by Tanya Wexler
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