First-time writer-director Alice Winocour obviously sees room for feminist revisionism in Augustine, a fact-based period drama that pits a 19th-century French neurologist (Vincent London), skilled in the art of hypnosis, against his star patient, a 19-year-old servant girl (Soko) sentenced to life in an asylum after a dinner-disrupting seizure leaves her partly paralyzed. Instead of amending history by deifying the damsel in favor of skinning the doc alive, Winocour walks a fine line, never once allowing contemporary thinking to rupture the mood or period she so skillfully and voraciously re-creates. The sexual politics pack more heat, and a lot less dialog, than David Cronenberg’s like-minded A Dangerous Method. (2012) — Scott Marks
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