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‘Hysteria’ offers amusing account of the invention of vibrators to treat female maladies


The creation of the first vibrator sends ripples through England in the new period comedy “Hysteria,” directed by out lesbian Tanya Wexler.

It is London, circa 1880, and Dr. Robert Dalrymple (Jonathan Pryce) is treating what he feels is female hysteria, which in this time period could mean just about any symptom a woman could have — stress, depression, insomnia and more. His unorthodox method involves inserting a finger in a lady’s vaginal area until their “maladies” go away; that is, until they need another visit. No one knows he is inducing orgasms.

After getting fired from a job where he butted heads with a dinosaur doctor who still believes in leeches, idealistic Mortimer Granville (Hugh Dancy) comes to work for Dalrymple and gets his own fingers busy. Mortimer is instantly attracted to Dalrymple’s younger daughter Emily (Felicity Jones).