A Dangerous Method (2011)

Published: Apr 25, 2012 |Updated: Mar 10, 2023


Formation of psychoanalysis and meeting of minds between Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung.

Genre Drama
Production year 2011
Director David Cronenberg
Male actors Viggo Mortensen, Michael Fassbender

To my understanding...

This is a bitesized review

The bitesized reviews are shorter and more informal reviews than the in-depth ones.

Dangerous Method

Freud is a King archetype, dominant, in control, the expert who expects people to ask him for advice. He finds it difficult to be wrong, almost impossible. The film describes him as the father in some scenes, clearly analytical and nurturing.

Jung is the Warrior, his clothes, mannerisms and words are purposeful and not wasteful. He’s direct, straightforward, moralistic, and wants to take psychology to new areas using his adventurous side and critical judgement.

Freud, Jung interact well at first, sharing an interest and having different insight. The relationship breaks down as they can’t relate to one another maturely. Freud wants to be right and dominate, Jung is a threat to his identity, to the throne.

For Jung, Freud is unreasonable, closed minded and cannot see the opportunities and benefits that his ideas may hold. He has a desire to help those in his care rather than attach labels to patients as Freud does.

Emma, Jung’s wife is clearly the Queen, reserved, dignified with an air of importance that would be there without her wealth. Her marriage is broken as they can’t relate but she is dutiful, proud and will find a way to make it work. She doesn’t see the problem clearly and tries to fix things in other areas, like having children, when that doesn’t work, it must be he wanted a boy.

Otto, is the Lover, experiencing life deeply, holding no morals or boundaries that would limit the experience. Up for anything, he has addiction problems and is too deep in thoughts. When he meets Jung, for the first time Jung smiles and appears to be happy. Their archetypes complete each other and they relate well despite professional responsibilities. Otto can be aggressive that make him appear to be more of a warrior, but it’s a rolling with the feelings, violence is fine with him if he feels it to be appropriate.

Now the mistress Sabina, a Warrior like Jung, whose personality doesn’t fit in with the current society and is considered insane and then convinced of it.
She is strong, direct, ready to battle, doesn’t mince her words and handy with a knife in one scene.

Being two warriors, it was never going to last. After realizing who she is and that it’s ok, she became dependent on him for her excitement. She helped Jung become more of a warrior, giving him the opportunity to dominate her, to discipline her and showing him what he’s been missing with his own family.

He like Sabina before, doesn’t fit in this society and when he pushes her away for guilt reasons he disconnects from his family and the world, he falls in to the warrior shadow. On their last interaction together, Jung breaks down and slips in to a lover personality, a manipulation to fit her warrior. The dishonesty is clear to see and is cringe worthy to her, he has lost his identity, his strength. The caring, feeling, lover nature is fine when you’re that personalty, if you’re not, then it’s weak and needy and it gave Sabina momentum to leave.

It’s a sad end to the film seeing the Jung family putting up pretenses, “everything is fine here move along”. Jung, isolated by his own doing. None of the cast had the maturity to say “hey, this isn’t working, let’s not be miserable, we gotta separate.”

Never forget, when you’re with the right person, you know it in your gut. It’s an unmistakable feeling. Be happy, make good decisions.

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