"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.
"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.