A psychiatrist helps this film get off the couch

Posted: June 01, 2007

In The Treatment, a New York prep-school teacher with a miserable history in life and love tumbles for a rich, recent widow whose son attends the same school. She takes to the teacher, and he to her, but significant issues get in the way: her grief, for one, and his raving neuroses, for another.

Bring on the Freudian analyst to counsel, cajole, spew profanity and steal the movie from the two leads.

A pleasant, lightweight affair marked by smart writing but also by predictable plot turns and contrivances, The Treatment stars Chris Eigeman and Famke Janssen. He's Jake Singer, who's trying to get his class of entitled brats to appreciate Camus. Eigeman, familiar to fans of Whit Stillman's Metropolitan and Barcelona, has no trouble projecting intelligence and angst, but charisma's another issue - something he's almost wholly without.

Janssen, the striking former model and X-Men star, is Allegra Marshall, a rich, now-single mom. Janssen has no trouble projecting intelligence, either, and her wry smile could smite a legion of saps. The trouble is that as The Treatment moves along - written by Daniel Saul Housman and Oren Rudavsky, and directed by Rudavsky - it's hard to buy their romance.

Which leaves Ian Holm, as a die-hard Freudian psychiatrist by the name of Ernesto Morales (he hails from Argentina). Dr. Morales offers Jake bitter, fiery advice during office hours and then shows up as a kind of imaginary arbiter during Jake's direst moments of crisis and doubt.

Holm is brilliant. The Treatment, alas, is not.


Contact movie critic Steven Rea at 215-854-5629 or srea@phillynews.com. Read his recent work at http://go.philly.com/stevenrea.

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