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A Dangerous Method (2011)



Average Rating: 6.9/10
Reviews Counted: 168
Fresh: 130 | Rotten: 38

A provocative historical fiction about the early days of psychoanalysis, A Dangerous Method is buoyed by terrific performances by Michael Fassbender, Keira Knightley, and Viggo Mortensen.


Average Rating: 7.1/10
Critic Reviews: 42
Fresh: 32 | Rotten: 10

A provocative historical fiction about the early days of psychoanalysis, A Dangerous Method is buoyed by terrific performances by Michael Fassbender, Keira Knightley, and Viggo Mortensen.



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Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 25,912

My Rating

Movie Info

Seduced by the challenge of an impossible case, the driven Dr. Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) takes the unbalanced yet beautiful Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley) as his patient in A Dangerous Method. Jung's weapon is the method of his master, the renowned Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen). Both men fall under Sabina's spell. -- (C) Sony Pictures Classics


Mystery & Suspense, Drama

Christopher Hampton

Mar 27, 2012


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All Critics (168) | Top Critics (42) | Fresh (130) | Rotten (38) | DVD (5)

It makes for an absorbing drama and leaves the mustiness of cigars in the theatre.

June 20, 2013 Full Review Source: The New Republic
The New Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Knightley gives a fair performance but lumbers herself with a distracting accent, and her gurning in the early scenes may be too much for some to bear.

February 7, 2012 Full Review Source: Time Out | Comment (1)
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The true story is extraordinary; the film is not, although the actors are all fine.

January 20, 2012 Full Review Source: Detroit News | Comments (7)
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Like psychoanalysis, "A Dangerous Method" takes its time as it circles an opening to unexplored depths.

January 20, 2012 Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A Dangerous Method is a suave chamber piece: a series of glimpses of two 20th-century intellectual titans, in friendship and separation, and the story of a remarkable woman who history had swallowed up, brought into the light again.

January 13, 2012 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Cronenberg has reached the stage of his career where he doesn't feel it necessary to pander to expectations. Instead he seeks to engage us, and he succeeds.

January 12, 2012 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There are some plays that are meant to remain on the stage. This is one of them.

September 18, 2012 Full Review Source:

A Dangerous Method is beautifully crafted and abundant with subtext but it's also sterile, dramatically turgid and at times, kind of a drag.

September 15, 2012 Full Review Source: We Got This Covered
We Got This Covered

While [it] offers up the kind of creepy, carnal delights we usually enjoy in a Cronenberg flick, I found myself more intrigued by the matters of the mind that are more fleetingly addressed.

July 30, 2012 Full Review Source: Quickflix

Cronenberg doesn't go in for any exploding heads this time, but the surging emotions and heady ideas on display in his adaptation of Christopher Hampton's play The Talking Cure are equally combustible.

July 17, 2012 Full Review Source: Movie Talk | Comment (1)
Movie Talk

Exploding the era of the costume drama with both its style and its ideas, David Cronenberg's A Dangerous Method pushes repression to its breaking point at every turn

June 11, 2012 Full Review Source:

For Cronenberg fans who didn't desert him after he stopped blowing up heads and started exploring them, it's yet another intensely calibrated portrait of repression and expression.

April 30, 2012 Full Review Source:

Cronenberg's comments are largely constrained to the subtle placement of his actors in the frame, to suggest the ever shifting power dynamic between the characters, who form a kind of love triangle.

April 29, 2012 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Fassbender provides a solid tortured performance alongside stand-out support from Mortensen; unfortunately the film hinges on the Sabina character that in Knightly's hands lacked the necessary punch to elevate this film.

April 26, 2012 Full Review Source: 2UE That Movie Show
2UE That Movie Show

...Knightley's histrionic performance verges on the embarrassing.

April 26, 2012 Full Review Source: | Comment (1)

is remarkably restrained, sometimes to a fault. In fact, there are no obvious visual Cronenberg flourishes, and maybe some surrealistic touches might have upped the ante a little.

April 10, 2012 Full Review Source:

Its eye for detail makes things so real and worthy of a work of scholarship.

April 9, 2012 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

It's little more than repetitious conversation - conversation that uncovers little new or titillating on the topics of sex, madness or the process of psychoanalysis.

April 4, 2012 Full Review Source: Moviedex

A Dangerous Method is masterful filmmaking on all levels, but alas, it also leaves you dreaming that Fassbender and Mortensen will return to these roles in a more focused story on the fathers of psychoanalysis.

April 4, 2012 Full Review Source: The Vine
The Vine

For the sake of your own mental health A Dangerous Method should be avoided, but the Cronenberg curious might want to endure it to prevent any onset of mania.

April 2, 2012 Full Review Source: The Popcorn Junkie
The Popcorn Junkie

While the moments of psycho-sexual interplay allows Cronenberg to indulge in his obsession with the kinky, the Canadian auteur shows a surprising restraint that his own written works don't have.

April 2, 2012 Full Review Source: Matt's Movie Reviews
Matt's Movie Reviews

IF you're up for some solid intellectual stimulation and don't mind having to work hard for it, this one will really give you something to discuss with friends afterwards.

April 2, 2012 Full Review Source: The Mercury
The Mercury

While very much a dialogue-heavy historical film, all the recognisable elements of Cronenberg's preoccupations can be found in A Dangerous Method.

March 28, 2012 Full Review Source: Cinema Autopsy
Cinema Autopsy

The film is understandably talky, but there was enough passion and drama in it to hold my attention. It is a good primer on psychoanalysis.

March 28, 2012 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

Both Michael Fassbender and Viggo Mortensen are impressive, but the film belongs to Keira Knightley, who gives a quite astonishing performance, one modelled closely on existing film of women patients who suffered from this kind of hysteria.

March 28, 2012 Full Review Source: At the Movies (Australia)
At the Movies (Australia)

Audience Reviews for A Dangerous Method

I decided to check this out when the professor mentioned this movie in a lecture for my class on European mysticism and psychoanalysis. Keira Knightley's most impressive performance yet. The relationship between the three is depicted with delicious tension, intellectual sparring and a fated tragicness. I appreciated that the filmmakers leaned towards more academic accuracy than cheap melodrama.

The only unconvincing part of the story was that Jung's penchant for mysticism didn't seem to colour his interactions or behaviour in the first half of the film, but then abruptly emerged in his conversations with Freud. Despite this minor quibble, I enjoyed this and it helped establish an atmosphere for my class readings.
January 30, 2014
Letitia Lew

Super Reviewer

I'm with those who felt indifferent to this. Nothing awful to hate, but nothing to think wow, great movie. One off view was more than enough for me.
Keira's acting is maybe slightly overdone at the beginning. I do like her, but not so much in this role.
Overall movie is a little dry and dull for my taste the.
October 8, 2013

Super Reviewer

Slow moving, but a good script, excellent performances and beautiful cinematography. An effectively understated portrayal of two of the most dynamic men of the early 20th century: Sigmund Freud, the undisputed pioneer of the exploration of the unconscious, and Carl Jung, who went a step or two further. The dialogue imagined here between these two extraordinary men was interesting to watch. A good quiet afternoon movie...
May 28, 2013

Super Reviewer

Based on the true story of Jung, Freud and the patient who came between them.

An Ok Film! I really expected more by this movie, I expected more pathos, but unfortunately it proved scarcely involving and too rational. Nothing to say against the perfect technical execution, and the good acting, but what is disappointing is the screenplay, which should have been, in my opinion, the most significant element of the picture. Dialogues are flat, too rationally aimed at conveying an encyclopedic definition of psychoanalysis, but incapable of conveying empathy towards any of the three main characters, Jung, Freud and Sabine Spielrein. It's a movie that seems to promise plenty, seems to be always on the verge of revealing something, but never takes off, as if the director wanted to keep a distance from the handled subject, as if afraid of being swept away by the abyss of the human complex mind. Or maybe because the complexity is too great to be thoroughly revealed? Overall, I feel like this film would have been better if it had been longer. If the film had a running time of even two hours, compared to one and a half, more character development could have been inserted, particularly for Freud. In addition, more focus on Jung's relationship with Freud, rather than his relationship with Spielrein, would have been nice to see.

Suffering from hysteria, Sabina Spielrein is hospitalized under the care of Dr. Carl Jung who has begun using Dr. Sigmund Freud's talking cure with some of his patients. Spielrain's psychological problems are deeply rooted in her childhood and violent father. She is highly intelligent however and hopes to be a doctor, eventually becoming a psychiatrist in her own right. The married Jung and Spielrein eventually become lovers. Jung and Freud develop an almost father-son relationship with Freud seeing the young Jung as his likely successor as the standard-bearer of his beliefs. A deep rift develops between them when Jung diverges from Freud's belief that while psychoanalysis can reveal the cause of psychological problems it cannot cure the patient.
January 26, 2013
Manu Gino

Super Reviewer

    1. Carl Jung: My love for you was the most important thing in my life. For better or worse, it made me understand who I am.
    2. Carl Jung: He should be mine.
    3. Sabina Spielrein: Yes.
    4. Carl Jung: Sometimes you have to do something unforgivable just to be able to go on living.
    – Submitted by Victor M (7 months ago)
    1. Sigmund Freud: Your letter cannot be answered. Your claim that I treat my friends like patients is self evidently untrue. As to which of us is the neurotic, I thought on this we agreed that a little neurosis was nothing whatever to be ashamed of. But a man like you, who behaves quite abnormally and then stands there shouting at the top of his voice how normal he is, does give considerable cause for concern. For a long time now, our relationship has been hanging by a thread, and a thread moreover, mostly consisting of past disappointments. We have nothing to lose by cutting it.
    – Submitted by Victor M (7 months ago)
    1. Carl Jung: If I may say so, dear Professor, you make the mistake of treating your friends like patients. This enables you to reduce them into the level of children, so that their only choice is to become obsequious non-entities, or bullying enforces of the parting line. While you sit on the mountain top, the infallible father figure, and nobody dares to pluck you by the beard and say, think about your behavior, and then decide which one of us is the neurotic. I speak as a friend.
    – Submitted by Victor M (7 months ago)
    1. Carl Jung: Listen, I made a stupid mistake.
    2. Sabina Spielrein: Is that what it was?
    3. Carl Jung: I broke one of the elementary rules of my profession, I'm your doctor! And I believe I did you some good. I can't forgive myself for overstepping the mark. I should have known that if I gave you what you wanted, you wouldn't be able to help wanting me.
    – Submitted by Victor M (7 months ago)
    1. Carl Jung: There are so many mysteries, so much further to go.
    2. Sigmund Freud: Please, we can't be too careful! We can't afford to wonder into these speculative areas. Telepathy! Singing bookcases! Fairies at the bottom of the garden. It won't do! It won't do.
    – Submitted by Victor M (7 months ago)
    1. Sigmund Freud: Pity, I should never have sent Otto Gross to you. I blame myself.
    2. Carl Jung: Well I'm very grateful you did. All those provocative discussions helped crystallize my thinking.
    – Submitted by Victor M (7 months ago)
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Foreign Titles

  • Eine dunkle Begierde (DE)
  • A Dangerous Method (FR)
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