Tanya Wexler’s Hysteria is a silly little historical comedy and there’s nothing wrong with that. The film is about the creation of the vibrator or as the opening title card tells us “The following is based on true events. Really.” Going into Hysteria, I was initially worried that there might be an unsettling subtext implying the only way women can get over their problems is through sexual relief and they owe it all to ingenious men. Thankfully, that turned out not to be the case, although there’s not much case at all other than to make the audience chuckle at citizens in Victorian England having orgasms and misunderstanding sex. Hysteria goes a little overboard at times with its self-aware pronouncements and unrealistic characters, but it is inarguably the best movie you’ll see all year featuring Jonathan Pryce fingerblasting an old lady. In 1880, the catch-all diagnosis “hysteria” is affecting more than half of England’s women. Hysteria covers insomnia, stress, depression, rebelliousness, and basically anything a man doesn’t like about a woman. Disgusted by the primitive medical treatments of bloodletting and leeches, Progressive young doctor Mortimer Granville (Hugh Dancy) is disgusted by the primitive medical treatments like bloodletting and leeches, and joins the medical practice of Dr. Robert Dalrymple (Pryce) who specializes in treating the emotional afflictions of women. Dalrymple has devised a special medical treatment wherein the doctor lubricates his fingers and stimulates a woman’s vaginal area in order to relieve stress, a practice which today is known by teenagers everywhere as “fingering”. There’s a charm to the unrealistic notion that neither party understands that what they’re doing is sexual. To the characters in Hysteria, it’s simply a medical procedure like any other.