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Maggie Gyllenhaal’s made a name for herself as a dependable actress, but she’s never really been any better than she was in the complicated, edgy, sadomasochistic sex movie Secretary. She does sex movies like nobody else. So there’s good reason to be excited about Maggie’s next project, in which she’ll help invent the first vibrator.
The movie is called Hysteria and it’s set in the Victorian-era. Gyllenhaal tells the Guardian, “I play a firecracker whose father is a doctor who is in the business of curing hysterical women. He cures them basically by getting them off and that actually happened. I end up having a sort of unexpected love affair with this guy who works for him, and who by mistake invents the vibrator.” Believe it or not, this idea is being classified as a “rom-com”.
The plot may sound far-fetched, modern moral delusions suggest to people that vibrators were invented yesterday, but it’s not. They’ve actually been around for awhile and back before their husbands learned to give a damn, women really did go to doctors to get off. It was viewed as therapeutic, much like a Swedish massage. At the time Doctor delivered orgasm was a common cure for “hysteria”. Later in the 50s, hysteria’s the sort of thing you might have seen Cary Grant curing with a good slap. Given the options, the medicinal orgasm was probably a better solution.
Character actor Jonathan Pryce (he played Elizabeth Swann’s father in Pirates of the Caribbean) will play Maggie Gyllenhaal’s hysteria-curing doctor father. Hugh Dancy and Rupert Everett are in the film too, as fellow medics, and it’s they who discover the orgasmic miracle that is vibration.