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This is the story of how one of the first electrical appliances in history to earn a patent sent sparks flying between a cautious man and a liberated woman, brought together by the wonders of friction.
Comedy Romantic - Don't let the Victorian era setting fool you: this film is actually
an often bawdy comedy about the invention of the vibrator. While
language is at a minimum, the adult subject matter and sexual
situations make the film strictly for adults. Fans of Hugh Dancy and
Maggie Gyllenhaal will be pleased, but fans of other known stars
such as Rupert Everett and Jonathan Pryce may be disappointed by
their small roles.
PROFANITY: A few miscellaneous profanities. SEX/NUDITY: Sexual situations without nudity; constant sex talk. VIOLENCE: Some hits and bleeding wounds. DRUGS/ALCOHOL: Some alcohol. ACTION: None. COMEDY: Verbal and physical sex gags.
London, 1880. MORTIMER GRANVILLE (Hugh Dancy), a dedicated and forward-thinking
young doctor, is struggling to establish his career. While Granville preaches
sanitation and germ theory, the old guard of doctors clings to leeches and
hacksaws, scoff at his upstart ideas, and show him the door.
Granville's fortunes change when he arrives for an interview at the
well-appointed private offices of DR. ROBERT DALRYMPLE (Jonathan Pryce),
London's leading specialist in women's medicine. Dalrymple has a thriving solo
practice; indeed, his waiting room is overflowing with well-dressed women
suffering "weeping, nymphomania, frigidity, melancholia, and anxiety" -
afflictions of the female nervous system thought to stem from a disorder of the
uterus known as "hysteria." Fortunately, enlightened medicine has shown that
hysteria can be treated by relieving tensions within the womb, and Dalrymple's
treatments are so successful that, as he explains to Granville, "another pair of
hands" is his urgent need. Granville is hired on the spot.
Granville's improved lot in life makes him a worthy suitor for Dalrymple's
daughter EMILY (Felicity Jones), whom Granville considers "the epitome of
English virtue and womanliness" with her lovely face, demure manner, and
artistic and intellectual accomplishments. As dutiful and proper a daughter as
is Emily, her elder sister CHARLOTTE (Maggie Gyllenhaal) is the opposite: she's
a firebrand social reformer, arguing passionately for women's rights to be
educated, vote, and live independent lives unshackled by domestic drudgery. And
yet, she works long and hard herself, running a settlement house for poor women
and children in London's East End, dashing around London on her bicycle,
cajoling her disapproving father for a bit more money to keep the coal furnace
running and the schoolroom open. Dalrymple is dismayed by Charlotte's
progressive views and lower-class associations; Charlotte is scornful of her
father's medical practice that profits from, as she sees it, the imaginary
problems of affluent women.
Although Granville is somewhat shocked by Charlotte's lack of propriety, he
feels kinship with her conviction to help those in need. They snipe at each
others' views, but he earns her grudging respect when he treats a poor
settlement house woman with a broken ankle.