When Nietzsche Wept

2007

Drama

5
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 57%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 57% · 1K ratings
IMDb Rating 6.4/10 10 4885 4.9K

Director

Top cast

Katheryn Winnick as Lou Salome
Armand Assante as Nietzsche
Joanna Pacula as Mathilda
Ben Cross as Josef Breuer
480p.DVD
926 MB
592*320
English 2.0
PG-13
23.976 fps
1 hr 44 min
Seeds 36

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by agacyb 5 / 10

Disappointingly melodramatic interpretation

I read the book several years ago, and didn't remember much of it, beyond being fascinated by the psychological-philosophical explorations of the legendary characters and intrigued by the migraine issues that Nietszche and Breuer attempt to solve. But the book is deeply intellectual, and it was difficult to imagine it translated to the screen. Unfortunately, the director's interpretation falls very limp indeed, despite valiant attempts by a cast of worthy actors.

Melodrama substitutes in most scenes for subtlety and quiet depth. Two-dimensional beauty in the female characters substitutes for the much harder to convey inner beauty.

I found the heavy-handed artificial accents maintained by all to be especially distracting, if not constantly irritating -- the thick German/Austrian/Russian accents were like bad scenery pulling the focus from any authentic expression of the characters. The wisdom of Nietszche is disappointingly obscured in this mediocre effort.

"And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."

Reviewed by thomaspkanell 7 / 10

Nietzsche's Humanity and Brilliance Shine

I watched this movie immediately after taking a course on the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. I was interested in seeing how Nietzsche's philosophy was depicted, and how the man was portrayed. I was not disappointed, as I thought the movie was very fair and accurately showed Nietzsche's philosophical mindset.

Nietzsche actually has been called one of history's greatest psychologists because of his insight into "the will to power." This is contrasted with psychoanalysis' and Freud's "pleasure principle." The movie shows a very interesting depiction of the early years of the development of psychoanalysis, when Breuer and Freud first start dealing with the hysteria of Anna O., using catharsis as a healing mechanism for mental illness. Nietzsche's own loneliness and emotional-physical pain demonstrate his human side. Nevertheless, Nietzsche, in spite of his precarious mental health, helps the good Dr. Breuer to realize his own values of living life on this good earth through sharing his own brilliant philosophy. Although usually antagonistic to one another, the protagonists representing philosophy and psychology meet to produce a very profound and poignant friendship in the end.

The movie weaves together different musical themes from that era, such as the scene with Nietzsche's conducting Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries," [1870] and the movie's beginning with Strauss's "Blue Danube." [1866] Since the movie is set sometime in the year 1882, the music is very appropriate.

This movie brings "ideas" to life. Some people might prefer an action or adventure movie, or prefer actors to speak with an English accent, but I think they are missing the point! This movie is not intended to entertain as much as it is intended to teach! The philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche gets high marks for showing us that we should be passionate about this life! The one reviewer who remarked that he thought his life had changed in watching this movie is exactly why this movie was made in the first place!

I was impressed with Armand Assante's acting a very difficult role. Ben Cross does a fine job in acting as the 19th century man. The women's characters are not at all that well developed, it is true, and even Lou Salome's character seems rather one-dimensional. Perhaps this could be seen as a metaphor for the state of women at that time. All in all, however, I was edified for having watched a very satisfying portrayal of the ideas and the humanity of one of mankind's greatest geniuses.

Reviewed by rmax304823 6 / 10

The Facts in the Case of Doctor Breuer.

What an ambitious film! Richard Wagner, Josef Breuer (Ben Cross), Friderich Nietzsche (Armand Assante), and Sigmund Freud (Jamie Elman), all of whom knew one another on or around the streets of Vienna in 1872 with, in the case of Wagner, only one degree of separation. Where are OUR giants?

I'm trying to figure out why the film didn't work all that well for me. For one things, I'm not familiar with the book it's based on, although I don't know if that's an obstacle to my appreciation or not. Other reviewers who are familiar with the source seem to feel the movie stinks.

It's true that it's pretty talky and some of the atmosphere is rarefied. See, the way it works is that Breuer, a mentor to Freud, is having lots of problems of his own and agrees to treat Nietzsche's migraines and "despair" in return for Nietzsche's teaching him how to deal with his loneliness and feelings of emptiness. And though I can more or less keep up with Breuer and his pronouncements, I sometimes got lost with Nietzsche. "Time is our greatest burden," he tells Breuer, "and our greatest challenge is to live in spite of it." And, "Death only loses its terror when one has consummated one's life." Huh? There have been many other attempts to bring great minds set on different courses together. Steve Allen had a TV show in which dinners were shared by the likes of Alexander Hamilton and Carmen Electra, and recently there was "Mindwalk" with Sam Waterston, but compared to this film, those efforts were more like episodes of Sesame Street.

Still, it's interesting to witness the birth of modern psychology as it climbs out of the medieval murk and gets a double dose of philosophy and science. No more phrenology or physiognomy. And, according to this story, Breuer gets the notion of the Oedipus complex from Nietzsche and the three intellects together assemble the notion of the unconscious (though it was hanging around for centuries unnoticed by most practitioners). There's even a hint of family counseling and Milton Erikson when Nietzsche points out that Breuer is blaming himself for the illness of Bertha Pappenheim, one of his hysterical patients, when in fact by exhibiting her symptoms in such worrisome profusion, Bertha Pappenheim has got Breuer by the short hairs. As Erikson was to say a hundred years later, there are two ways to get people to carry you around -- one is to be powerful enough to order them to carry you around and the other is to collapse.

There's a bit of humor too, especially when Nietzsche prompts Breuer to close his eyes and imagine what would happen if Breuer were having breakfast with his amour and threw a handful of insults at her.

Ben Cross is adequate as the tall, deep-voiced, uptight Breuer. Elman is good as the 25-year-old Freud. Armand Assante is great as Nietzsche of the monstrous mustache and spectacles, an exceptional actor. What colorful, shocking, and well-integrated dreams they had in those days. And I mean "dreams" literally. (Not just in the film but as described in Freud's works.) Mine tend to be far less organized, with images and personalities melting into one another, filled with non sequiturs -- and whoever is responsible for the lighting in my dreams ought to be brusquely spanked. Every scene is under lighted and tinted orange. Let's get with the program, shall we? Anyway, I was alternately bored and involved in the sometimes complicated goings on, but was genuinely moved at the end, when Nietzsche does, literally, weep. I don't know why exactly. Maybe just the sight of two men who have been trading barbs along with insights acknowledging that they are dear friends. It's nice to see people get along.

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