Parents' Guide to


By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Movie about sex toy invention isn't all that graphic.

Movie R 2012 100 minutes
Hysteria Poster Image

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Borrowing a tone and approach from The Full Monty, director Tanya Wexler tackles the topic of human sexuality in a coy way that allows her not to show any nudity or say anything vulgar. This approach will make Hysteria appeal to a much wider audience than something more intimate and direct, like Shame, but it also avoids an actual discourse on the topic; it merely suggests that viewers should walk away from the movie feeling good about being more modern and open-minded than the citizens of 1880s were.

HYSTERIA gets most of its humor from the juxtaposition of prudishness and sex, as characters slowly find themselves freed from primitive thinking, and it's easy to laugh along. Though the whole cast is charming, Gyllenhaal's character is the most admirable of the bunch. But she's also the most misplaced, bringing an idea of women's liberation to a time that most certainly wasn't ready for it. In his small supporting role, Everett provides the movie's freest, loosest humor, drolly enjoying his own bad behavior.

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