On Saturday I saw the movie “Hysteria,” which was ostensibly about the invention of the electric vibrator in Victorian England. It was a cute, slight, and rather obvious little movie, with the ending inevitable after the first ten minutes.  But any movie with both Rupert Everett and Maggie Gyllenhaal in it cannot be all bad.

I know enough about the era to wonder at the extent to which the writers played fast and loose with events and the characters, especially of the female heroine.  She was too modern, too emancipated.  Nonetheless, it was an amusing movie about what was in fact seen as a serious problem at the time. It makes me wonder what deadly serious issue will be laughed at by our descendants in a century or so.

The movie also suffered from a minor pet peeve of mine: it proclaimed at the beginning to be based on true events, (“Really.”) but at the end carried the standard libel disclaimer: “any resemblance to any persons living or dead is purely coincidental.”  It is a small thing, but the illogic of it drives me nuts.

All in all, though, a fun little movie. I give it a solid B.

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