It takes a very special actor to portray a real-life superstar. In A Dangerous Method, Keira Knightley keeps shrieking and bugging her eyes out, and her hysteria is totally understandable since she’s the patient of Carl Jung and the colleague of Sigmund Freud, played by the überhotties Michael Fassbender and Viggo Mortensen. I’m telling you, it’s as if Chippendales was staging a Pioneers of Modern Psychotherapy All-Male Revue at the Borgata, and I kept waiting for Keira to announce, ”I’m sorry, but if you really want me to dredge up any major childhood trauma, I’ll need to see both of you in Speedos.” Of course, both Viggo and Michael prove that they’re playing important, educated visionaries by slicking their hair back and sprouting little mustaches and beards, which made me imagine that someday, if Jessica Biel ever gets cast as Golda Meir, she’ll wear a bun and sensible shoes.
As for Michael, all I can say is, if he was my shrink, I’d stay in therapy seven days a week for the rest of my life. But after seeing Michael’s nude scene in his other recent movie, Shame, I don’t think the word shrink really applies. I’m still not ready to talk about Michael’s full-frontal penis, but let me just say this: I was healed. People in the theater were holding up their crippled children and senile grandparents, and I saw one woman leave the cineplex, throw away her cane, and howl, ”I can see! I can see! Behold the power of Michael’s Fassbender!” And I swear, from somewhere far away, I could hear Ewan McGregor muttering, under his breath, ”I used to have a penis.”
A Dangerous Method is very elegant and sedate, and the characters speak in full grad-student paragraphs while they stroll past stately homes, and there are always excruciatingly well-dressed extras posed in the background, with a nursemaid pushing a pram or someone in a bowler hat wheeling his bicycle. Keira and Michael compete to see who can have the tiniest waistline, but even when Michael spanks Keira into an orgasmic frenzy, it’s like Masochism Nite at Downton Abbey.