Maggie Gyllenhaal’s New Movie Hysteria: Scandalizing No Matter What Continent You’re On


Maggie Gyllenhaal, Hugh Dancy Star In Hysteria

Having seen a sneak preview, we can safely vouch for the fact that Maggie Gyllenhaal‘s new period comedy Hysteria has something for everybody: witty banter, gorgeous costumes, um, the invention of the vibrator. What does the film’s star enjoy about the movie in particular?

“I liked the mix of intellectual comedy with ladies having loud orgasms in doctor’s offices,” Gyllenhaal joked to reporters (at a roundtable that happened before she gave birth to baby Gloria last month).

If that sentiment made you blush, you aren’t the only ones; apparently the film’s comedic take on the treatment of hysteria in turn-of-the-century England is making more than just us uptight Americans squirm. “I’ve only seen the movie all the way though one time in Toronto,” Maggie explained. “Then I watched it in Rome, just the very end. I’ve done a lot of international press on it, talked to people in Italy and Scandinavia and all over, and I have been surprised, but not that surprised, by how shocking the movie is.”

When asked about the difference between American and European audiences, the actress laughed, “They keep saying that about us, that we’re so prudish, but I think we’re pretty equal.” Even in Scandinavia? See, we would have thought they had government-issue vibrators by now…

While we so want to act like we’re cooler than the Italians, there were definitely some moments in the film that had us giggling with a mix of laughter and embarrassment. Laughterassment! Luckily, Maggie felt the exact same way. “The orgasm stuff and women coming and thinking about their bodies that way, even I when watched I it, I was kind of flushed, and people were hysterically laughing,” admitted Gyllenhaal, who, you might remember, got her big break in the quite naughty Secretary. “It came out of not being used to seeing stuff like that. Even I felt that way, and the first movie I really made was an S&M movie!

“I think of myself as pretty open, but I was surprised by my own response and the audience’s response, by [how] uncomfortable it still makes us.” Yeah, just writing this post makes us want to hide our face in our hands … then watch the movie again through our fingers.

[Photo: Sony Classics]

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