Augustine - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Augustine Reviews

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Super Reviewer
November 24, 2016
This almost-good drama is a missed opportunity, considering its intriguing premise and the talent of the actors involved. What could have been a fascinating exploration of a psychological illness gives place to too much clichéd doctor-patient sexual tension.
April 15, 2014
This slow and subtitled French film based on actual events won't be one many are going to out-right enjoy although I found it to be rather interesting as I find its subject matter -- 19th century female hysteria -- to be most fascinating. The film is about Augustine, a young French housemaid (French singer/actress Soko), who suffers a debilitating seizure and is thus admitted to a Parisian psychiatric hospital and treated by renown physician Jean-Martin Charcot (Vincent Lindon - Bastards). In a medical field that was dominated by men, it was (frighteningly) common for any woman who experienced something that a man couldn't easily explain/understand to be diagnosed with "hysteria". If a woman acted in any manner that society found confusing or objectionable, she was a "hysteric" who could find herself subjected to some horrifyingly abhorrent and offensive "treatment" at the hands of men who claimed a medical interest in her well-being. The time period and understanding of this predominately female ailment IS fascinating; but I think a better film would have focused more on the doctor and his evolving understanding of hysteria over the years following his time with this one patient; but that is not what we are given with Augustine. Again, this is hard to "enjoy" but it is one that could hopefully shed some more light on this bizarre chapter of modern medicine.
October 26, 2013
I'm a sucker for period movies and if its french even better...
½ October 15, 2013
It's a bit slow, but I did like Winocours approach to "Augustine", as we explore the girls quizzical illness from her own misinformed perspective.
½ September 12, 2013
not as interesting as i thought it would be
August 4, 2013
I still don't know what is true and what is pretending in this movie.A good premise but a poor development.
½ July 12, 2013
"Augustine" is the (fictionalized) story In the late 19th century of a real neurologist, Jean-Martin Charcot (Vincent Lindon), who was exploring a cure for 'female hysteria' using hypnosis and the science of the nervous system in Paris. Two years ago there was a (fictionalized) story from Britain about a real physician Mortimer Granville, who was exploring the cure for female hysteria in the late 19th Century, with a film called "Hysteria". The latter was a romantic comedy and the former a dark drama.

"Augustine", the title character played by a French singer-actress Soko, is dark in more than the screenplay by Alice Winocour, who also directed, with extraneous scenes and not enough explanation of what caused Augustine's hysteria (except maybe that at 19 she still hadn't menstruated) or how Charcot cured her. He seems to have been a dour 'showboater' who didn't have feelings for anyone which makes the one scene he does show feeling fall flat. He uses Augustine for demonstrations and to acquire funding for his studies while she is being awakened to her sexuality and falling in love with her doctor.

The photography by George Lechaptois, certainly under the direction of Winocour, is too dark in many scenes to the point that you really have no idea what is going on and, in some cases, who are in the scene.

Lindon is cold, showing very little feeling even to his wealthy wife Constance, played on just the right key by Chiara Mastroianni while Soko embodies the 19 year old illiterate, voluptuous Augustine. Most of the other actors play minor roles with Olivier Rabourdin, playing the medical hypnotist working with Charcot, the only one with enough screen time to be noticed. Roxane Duran, playing Rosalie, a friend of Augustine's at the beginning of the movie, is forgotten almost as soon as Charcot comes on the screen, and you forget she was in the movie.

"Augustine" does accomplish the fact that you want to know more about Jean-Martin Charcot and whether Augustine is a real person sending you to google and bing them, in which case there is no need to see the movie.
July 7, 2013
Como mulher sofre....
½ June 22, 2013
Well acted, interesting story, would have liked more details about the psychiatric knowledge of the time
Super Reviewer
May 26, 2013
The movie starts with Augustine(Soko), a maid, feeling unwell while preparing to serve that night's dishes. Still, the show must go on, which turns out to be a mistake when she has a seizure on the dining room floor between courses. The following day when one of her eyes is still closed shut, her cousin brings her to a nearby hospital. Instead of a quick examination and treatment, Augustine is disappointed to hear that she will be admitted, and soon informed that she will also be expected to work. And as far as praying goes, she is told not to appeal to the usual person, but to somebody more local in the person of Dr. Charcot(Vincent Lindon) who finally takes notice of her when she has another seizure.

"Augustine" starts well enough with its copious period detail, some implied like the level of ignorance, such as Augustine not knowing what menstruation is. Mostly the target is the patriarchy of the period, especially with women under the watchful gaze of the men.(And we all know the corset was the work of the devil, right?) As fascinating as this is and even with the great Vincent Lindon on the job, the movie never really catches fire until the climax when in quick succession and with the aid of a few well-timed furtive glances, the apple cart is not only upturned but pretty much also tossed down a flight of stairs before being hit by an oncoming vehicle.
½ September 11, 2012
Well shot and good effort, very well acted but frankly a little boring. Lacks a bit of passion and excitement. A good but unfortunately mediocre film.
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