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This based-on-fact Victorian lark takes a bit of time to get going but is rather pleasurable as it reaches its climax.

In 1880 London, young doctor Mortimer Granville (Hugh Dancy) finds work as assistant to the respected Dr. Robert Dalrymple (Jonathan Pryce). Dalrymple's practice caters to housewives suffering from "female hysteria," which is treated by "pelvic massage" to the patient's ladyparts to achieve "hysterical paroxysm" (now known as orgasm).

Granville impresses Dalrymple and charms his younger daughter, the prim and marriageable Emily (Felicity Jones). But he finds himself drawn to Emily's older sister, the outspoken social activist Charlotte (Maggie Gyllenhaal). He also finds himself suffering hand cramps from all those "pelvic massages," and with his gadget-obsessed friend Edmund (Rupert Everett), stumbles upon the invention of an "electric manipulator" — the first vibrator.

Director Tanya Wexler engages in some quick, unsubtle ribbing about Victorian views of sexuality and gender. Thankfully, the charms of Dancy and Gyllenhaal make the comical history lesson quite enjoyable.; —



Opens Friday, June 15, at the Broadway Centre Cinemas; rated R for sexual content; 94 minutes. For more movie reviews, visit

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