Satire has a unique way of demystifying ordinary life and making us laugh at how stupid humans can be. That’s exactly what Ernst De Geer’s The Hypnosis (Hypnosen) is about a comedy about the performative character of relationships and the necessity to own our wants. Even if it makes a few mistakes, it’s an honest and humorous look at the human condition.
Humans are complicated organisms developed from the collision of basic instincts and societal laws that assure our collective existence. As a result, we are continually at odds with our impulses while putting on a show for whoever is watching. Yes, performances are a part of everyone’s lives, but if we don’t set clear limits about when to bend and when to hold the line, we risk losing sight of what makes us special.
This is exactly what happened to Vera (Asta Kamma August). Vera learned from her violent mother that she should always base her decisions on what others expect of her. Vera is repeating a destructive pattern with her partner, André (Herbert Nordrum). To make matters worse, Vera and André are collaborating on the launch of an app, which means there is no place in Vera’s life where she can listen to herself and stop acting.
Vera decides to make an appointment with a hypnotherapist in order to quit smoking. Vera only wants to be free of her addiction, but the therapist rapidly realizes that the fact that she is constantly striving to please others is giving her patient so much suffering. So, throughout the session, the hypnotherapist suggests that she assist Vera in unleashing her genuine passions, a technique that goes far too well. This is because, upon her appointment, Vera becomes overconfident, doing whatever she wants without regard for the repercussions.
The script of The Hypnosis, written by De Geer and Mads Stegger, makes use of Vera’s newfound freedom to envisage all sorts of amusing scenarios. And, while her actions may surprise others around her, it’s just great to see August portray the part of a woman liberated from conventional constraints. Vera is at ease in her own skin, doesn’t keep her ideas to herself, and speaks out whenever anything — or someone — upsets her. It’s a dramatic transition that allows Vera to put herself above others for the first time in her life, and we find ourselves smiling at the hilarious events that arise for two-thirds of The Hypnosis, just as we celebrate Vera’s hard-earned independence. Unfortunately, The Hypnosis’ examination of gender relations isn’t always successful, resulting in a hit-or-miss final stretch.
While this does not appear to be a key preoccupation of The Hypnosis, it is hard to look at the film without considering gender dynamics. André does not aggressively seek to establish power in his partnership. We cannot, however, dispute that Vera’s subservient behavior benefits the peace of her love partnership. Furthermore, because Vera is always willing to put André first, the couple’s existence is free of severe dispute.
However, Vera’s mental health will suffer as a result of her outward stability. André’s inability to recognize his partner once she begins to express her will tells a lot about heteronormative relationships in a patriarchal culture. Because, even if André isn’t precisely a sexist, he nevertheless loves the power bestowed upon him by Vera’s behavior in accordance with other people’s assumptions of how a woman should behave.
The criticism of traditional gender norms adds a nice emotional element to The Hypnosis. Unfortunately, as Vera’s behavior gets increasingly unpredictable, The Hypnosis sends out the incorrect message about women’s liberation. More than a century has passed since psychology incorrectly established that hysteria is a female-only mental illness caused by the female brain’s incapacity to deal with suppressed urges and rational cognition. As we all know, this is nonsense, but modern sexism lives on the notion that a free woman is incapable of caring for herself. That is exactly what happens in Vera’s situation, as she begins to adopt self-destructive behaviors that harm her job.
Vera’s recovery path is derailed by hypnosis in order to make the crowd laugh. That’s a regrettable change of events, especially because it manages to mix nice laughs with Vera’s empowerment throughout most of its duration. While things improve before the credits roll, this is still a severe blemish on an otherwise excellent script. There should be a method to give Vera her rightful independence without fully losing her capacity to make informed decisions about her future, which regrettably does not always occur in The Hypnosis.
In the most perplexing parts of her voyage into chaos, the film prioritizes humor above clarity. Nonetheless, while The Hypnosis may not always handle Vera’s role as effectively as it should, the film is a fantastic piece of societal satire. Above all, it merits appreciation for advocating for a life that is less performative and more sensitive to one’s desires.