Film / Hysteria
A romantic comedy about oppression and hypocrisy in 19th century England.
It starts with our male protagonist Mortimer Granville working as a doctor at a hospital. He gets fired for believing in silly new fads such as germ theory, the idea that doctors should wash their hands before surgery, that soiled bandages should be replaced and the idea that diseases and infections are caused by tiny invisible monsters that are not spiritual in nature.
As he finds a new job at a clinic for hysterical women, he quickly run into a woman who is just as crazy as he is: she actually believes in equal rights, or at least rights at all, regardless of class and gender, stirring up all kinds of trouble with outlandish demands such as the ideas that women ought to be allowed to vote and that even poor people should get education and healthcare
Oh, and the whole thing is kinda based on a true story. Kinda. It's also about the invention of a medical tool that is still very popular, although all claims about its medical usefulness have long since been debunked: the vibrator.
Has examples of:
- Activist Fundamentalist Antics: Invoked a few times by characters trying to portray the female protagonist in this light.
- Arranged Marriage: With zero chemistry and zero potential for happiness. The woman knows this from square one, but goes along with it anyway because her father told her to.
- A Date with Rosie Palms
- Calling the Old Man Out - When Doctor Dalrymple arranges for Charlotte's settlement house to be shut down, she yells at him "These are the actions of a villain!"
- The Immodest Paroxysm
- Lie Back and Think of England: One of the poor hysteria sufferers at the beginning seems to get no pleasure at all from sex with her husband, going so far as to imagine "splitting his fat, bald head with a great large axe" when he comes to her at night.
- Dr. Dalrymple is actually a bit more progressive on this point than some of his contemporaries, granting that female sexual pleasure is possible, but only with the penetration of the male organ (in spite of all evidence to the contrary).
- No Mere Windmill: Germs do exist, and giving women the right to vote is actually a good idea. Neither claim is ever proven within the actual movie, the narrative counts on the audience possessing basic education. See also Windmill Political below.
- "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer: An opening title asserts that the movie is based on true events and then continues... Really
- Only Sane Man: both protagonists.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Fortunately for Charlotte Dalrymple, Victorian London doesn't lack good judges.
- Science Marches On
- Society Marches On
- Straw Feminist: In-universe audience reaction to the female protagonist. The real life audience is not encouraged to agree.
- Thanks for the Mammary - After Charlotte crashes her bicycle into Mortimer, this happens repeatedly.
- Troubled Sympathetic Bigot: Dr Dalrymple - father of the female protagonist, and a firm believer in the inferiority of women... along with sciences such as phrenology.
- Unproblematic Prostitution: While uneducated and rather crude, Molly is portrayed as an okay person with an okay life. The audience isn't given any exuses to pity her or otherwise look down on her.
- Victorian London
- Windmill Political: The concept of "Hysteria".
- However, the cure for hysteria turns out to be No Mere Windmill: While it doesn't cure any medical condition per se, it still turn out to be jolly good.