Tanya Wexler’s new film Hysteria opens in NYC this Fri (5/18) & in Chicago (& elsewhere) next Fri (5/25), so technically I’m still under embargo & I’m not allowed to post a review yet. But since Anthony Lane’s New Yorker review is already posted, I’m putting my gloves on & punching back.
Readers, I have already seen this film twice & I loved it. When I am allowed to review it, you will see that I give it 5 Stars which is my highest rating. This will be my first 5 star review of 2012, & in the whole twelve year lifetime of FF2 I’ve only given eighty 5 star reviews which is ~ 2.5% of the entire FF2 database. (Yup, I just counted to make sure!)
So giving a 5 Star review is a really big deal for me, reserved for films with “flow” AND “heft,” in which “the whole is [certainly] greater than the sum of the parts.”
Now as of today there are 5 reviews of Hysteria posted on Rotten Tomatoes (including Lane’s). Who wrote them? 4 men & 1 woman:
And what do they say? 3 of the male reviews (including Lane’s) are splats. The one positive male critic damns with faint praise (“Light, inconsequential fun”). Contrast this with the sole female critic whose positive review includes this: “the script captures some delicate and intelligent facets of a tensely conflicted era.”
Readers, you know me, so you know I know a great deal about the 1880s (when Hysteria is set). In my research on Jane Addams, I have learned a great deal about both the settlement house movement & the women’s suffrage movement. So who are you going to believe on this subject: me or Anthony Lane?!?
Readers: Here we are in 2012. We’re in the middle of a Presidential campaign & the Republicans are desperately worried about their “gender gap.” (In fact, it seems that one of the things that killed the Gingrich campaign was the animus of female primary voters.) And yet, when I suggest a gender gap in film criticism, the guys scream foul.
But what am I saying that we don’t already know? Women have their own POV. Shocking!!!
No, all women don’t agree just like all men don’t agree, but when the reviews of Hysteria are in, I expect to see the same gap that’s obvious above. Many women will like Hysteria. Many men will not. So please factor that in when you assess the final RT score. Deal?
Meanwhile, here’s my Bottom Line: I laughed; I cried; I had a great time!!! And no, Sir, I did not “fake it,” not once & certainly not twice 🙂
Maggie Gyllenhaal as “Charlotte Dalrymple.” Photo Credit: Ricardo Vaz Palma/Sony Pictures Classics