There’s nothing like a great pairing. Apples and Vermont cheddar, pecans and bourbon, bacon and…everything. If you’re feeling particularly analytic this winter, I recommend the following book-to-movie pairing: David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method with Gary Small’s The Other Side of the Couch.
Even if you’ve never read Freud or Jung, A Dangerous Method is undeniably fascinating, though—be warned—unavoidably cerebral. It might just be the first filmed love letter to psychoanalysis, so crystalline is Cronenberg’s enjoyment of the source material. Like many of his previous films it explores forms of violence, but unlike its bloodier peers (A History of Violence, Eastern Promises) A Dangerous Method is more concerned with sexual violence and the psychological warfare of true intimacy.
Freud and Jung may have founded psychiatry, but where is it now? The Other Side of the Couch is an easily digestible look at one contemporary psychiatrist’s most baffling, compelling cases. There’s something here for everyone: sexual obsession, amputation fantasies, hysterical blindness, and—of course—transference. If your curiosity is whetted and not quelled after reading, you might also enjoy: The Interpretation of Dreams, The German Genius, and On Creativity and the Unconscious. For now, pardon me as I return to my nerd cave—I’ve got a dream to analyze.