Hysteria review

A mostly true story about the invention of the vibrator

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You'd think it'd be a tall order to make a film about vibrators that’s completely devoid of eroticism, but director Tanya Wexler has just about pulled it off.

Twee, feather-light and determinedly quaint, Hysteria centres on the mostly true story of an idealistic doctor (Hugh Dancy) who invents the first vibrator as a means of managing ‘hysterical’ (read: sexually frustrated) housewives.

Maggie Gyllenhaal’s feisty turn almost saves it, but it’s tough to imagine what the audience for this will be – too unsexy for a date movie, too much fingering for a see-with-your-mum movie.


Emma Didbin is a writer and journalist who has contributed to GamesRadar+, The New York Times, Elle, Esquire, The Hollywood Reporter, Vulture, and more. Emma can currently be found in Los Angeles where she is pursuing a career in TV writing. Emma has also penned two novels, and somehow finds the time to write scripts for Parcast – the Spotify-owned network that creates thrilling true crime and mystery podcasts.