Hysteria is a 2011 British period biographical romantic comedy film directed by Tanya Wexler. It stars Hugh Dancy and Maggie Gyllenhaal, with Felicity Jones, Jonathan Pryce, and Rupert Everett appearing in key supporting roles.
The film, set in the Victorian era, shows how the medical management of hysteria led to the invention of the vibrator.
Set at the end of 1880, the film depicts the invention of the vibrator. Dr. Mortimer Granville (Hugh Dancy) is a young physician who has difficulty with his occupation due to constant arguments over modern medicine. He gets a job assisting Dr. Dalrymple (Jonathan Pryce), whose practice specializes in the treatment of "hysteria", a popular diagnosis for women of that time.
Medical practitioners like Dr. Dalrymple tried to manage hysteria by massaging the genital area, decently covered under a curtain, to elicit "paroxysmal convulsions", without recognizing that they were inducing orgasms. Granville meets Dr. Dalrymple's daughters, Emily (Felicity Jones), and her older sister Charlotte (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a premodern feminist who runs a settlement house in a poor section of London.