A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie shows how psychology can help people, and it allows characters to thoughtfully discuss different methods and approaches. But it also explores the characters' dark side; they subtly slide from being selfless to selfish.
Positive Role Models
Carl Jung at first seems like a decent fellow, and he does cure his patient, but he also indulges in adultery and lying and -- other than his own misery -- he doesn't really pay a price for his behavior.
Violence & Scariness
There are some scary moments when a hysterical patient screams and throws tantrums (her body tenses up to a frightening degree, and her jaw juts out). During a vicious argument, she slices Jung's face with a knife. There's also some violent S&M sex, with spanking and whipping.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Jung has an extramarital affair with his patient; scenes include naked breasts, passionate kissing, an orgasm, and blood (from a broken hymen). The affair begins to involve S&M sex, with spanking and whipping. A supporting character has sex with a cleaning lady; her breasts are shown. A female patient tells stories of sexual deviation (getting turned on when her father beat her). A wife is shown to be pregnant, and there are references to contraception.
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Language is very infrequent but includes one use of "f--k," plus "c--k" and "penis."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters occasionally drink wine, brandy, and scotch in a social way. Jung smokes a pipe, and Freud smokes a cigar. Other characters smoke cigarettes (accurate for the era).
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that A Dangerous Method -- a smart adult drama about Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud, and the early days of psychoanalysis -- deals with frank sexual issues, an extramarital affair, and S&M. Star Keira Knightley appears topless, and there are a couple of pretty graphic sex scenes. Scenes of a patient throwing tantrums and having seizures can be frightening, and there's a little bit of blood. Swearing is infrequent but includes "f--k," and characters often drink and smoke socially, including Freud's ever-present cigar. Given the movie's subject matter and tendency toward talkiness, it's unlikely that teens will be interested -- unless they're drawn to cult director David Cronenberg, who's best known for his horror and gangster films. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Director David Cronenberg delivers the most disappointing movie of his career to date. Which is surprising, as A DANGEROUS METHOD seemed right up his alley: He has often explored issues surrounding the human body, and in his later, more mature films, the theme of identity. Whereas he usually plumbs uncomfortable and powerful depths of human boundaries, here he mostly just skims the surface. A Dangerous Method does have some powerful moments, but ultimately it seems more in the business of avoiding than exploring.
The main problem is that the screenplay comes from Christopher Hampton's theatrical play, which in turn came from a non-fiction book by John Kerr. It takes place over the course of decades, and scenes skip over great chunks of time; nothing ever gets the chance to sink in. However, the excellent performances count for a great deal, and the conversations are exceedingly intelligent, offering up provocative arguments on sex, the ego, and the concept of destiny.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.