The Soul Keeper (2002) Poster

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Unfulfilled promise
lcr1 March 2004
This movie *could* have been much more than it was. We have two historical figures, psychiatrist Karl Gustav Jung, and a gifted patient, Sabina Spielrein, who first becomes Jung's lover, and then a child psychiatrist in her own right. I had been hoping for deep psychological insight, instead I got a cartoonish loony (Sabina) and a starchy doctor (K.G. Jung). The characters are over-simplified, and their complex relationship is dumbed down to Harlequin Romance level. Furthermore, Sabina's life in Russia and her accomplishments are barely even mentioned in the movie. The subplot with Marie and Frazer (the present-day researchers) is 100% unnecessary, too. So, in the end you are left with a pleasant, if sleepy, non-controversial movie, suitable for airing on national tv at prime time. Come to think of it, maybe this is what they had in mind all along...
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A note on the Scandinavian DVD edition
sl-2230 December 2004
At the end of the film there is a text blurb mentioning that Spielrein's theoretical work influenced both Freud and Jung. Unfortunately, in the Scandinavian DVD edition this was mistranslated to the effect that Spielrein's work was *influenced by* both Freud and Jung. Apparently the idea that a woman could have influenced the work of these great men is still so far-fetched that the translator misread (in a most Freudian way) the text. Of course, having seen the film one could forgive the translator for not appreciating the impact of Spielrein's work, since it receives little, if any, attention in the script.

(BTW, There is also a (less Freudian) error in the sound editing, for about 15 minutes of the DVD edition the sound lags about one minute behind. Just so you know.)
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Sensitive and Very Beautiful Romance
claudio_carvalho17 January 2006
In the present days, Maria Spielrein (Caroline Trousselard) and Fraser (Craig Ferguson) are in Russia making a research about the life of Sabina Spielrein (Emilia Fox). In the beginning of the Twentieth Century, this Russian girl was a patient treated by Dr. Jung (Iain Glen) and later they fall in love for each other and Sabina became his lover. While the researchers read the documents, the romance between Sabina and Dr. Jung is disclosed, in a time of revolution and war.

"Prendimi l'anima" is a sensitive and very beautiful romance. In accordance with the DVD, the attractive story is based on true events, and the movie has a wonderful cinematography and costume design. The direction is excellent and Emilia Fox is fantastic in the role of a crazy patient and obsessive lover. I am not sure whether the screenplay is original, since it recalled me Neil LaBute's "Possession", of the same year, with Gwyneth Paltrow and Aaron Eckhart and showing two parallel in time romances, but anyway watching "Prendimi l'anima" is worthwhile. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Jornada da Alma" ("Jouney of the Soul")
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jotix10028 November 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Carl Jung, the Swiss psychiatrist, having decided to go on his own, set his practice treating people according to his own principles. Having been associated with Sigmund Freud for a while, he was getting known for his work with difficult cases, one of which involved Sabina Spielrein, a Russian young woman, that is brought over to him to see if he can help her. Basically, Sabina's problems were difficult to detect, although Jung determines to experiment the work he had developed with Freud in order to treat her illness.

There are two narratives in this film. The other one takes us to the present time Russia where a young French woman goes to Moscow to do research on Sabina's case. Marie is determined to get to the bottom of Ms. Spielrein's work and her work in the famous White School, that she founded during the Stalinist era. Marie meets a Scottish scholar, Richard Fraser, who sees in the young woman a determination and resolve to get to know what happened to Sabina.

After successfully treating Sabina, Carl Jung developed a passion for his patient, something that might have been considered as unethical. Dr. Jung was married to a cold woman who did not appreciate his work, or at least took no interest in what her husband was trying to accomplish. The relationship ended badly as the doctor came to his senses thinking in his family and his standing in the medical community. Sabina, on the other hand, decided to go back to Moscow where she married and had children. Those were hard times in the old Soviet Union, but she prevailed in establishing a school that was revolutionary in its own right. Mary's research gets to the bottom of the story as she goes to Rostov where the last part of Sabina's life were spent and where she died with the thousands of Jews that lost their lives in the conflict.

Directed by Italian Roberto Faenza with an international cast, we saw an English version of the film. We do not know whether the film was shot in Italian, or was conceived just as we watched it on a DVD transfer. We had enjoyed Mr. Faenza's "According to Pereira" with the great Marcello Mastroianni. Mr. Faenza contributed to the screenplay which was written in collaboration with about six other writers. The film presents a good story, but the screenplay does not do justice to the story of Sabina. No doubt, the creators had the best intentions in mind to present an interesting account about a subject that unfortunately leaves a lot to be explained and the second narrative seems a bit superfluous in our humble opinion.

Iain Glen, the Scottish actor is seen as Dr. Jung. Emilia Fox plays Sabina. Craig Ferguson and Caroline Ducey are the researchers that uncovered the facts of Sabina's fate.
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Masterpiece-very well told,wonderfully acted.
a-f-118 February 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Masterpiece-Woderful description of characters and background.Sabina Spielrein was,no doubt,a very special woman,and this film succeeds in doing justice with her sake,and especially with her extraordinary achievements in psychoanalysis therapy.The romantic affair she had with Dr.Jung is described powerfully by Faenza,and its ending is really heart-touching.Each main character gets a deep and full description-Dr.Jung,his methods of treatment and his complicated relationship with Sabina;Emma,that can't be judged of trying to save her family from being destroyed;and above all-Sabina herself,especially the development of her relationship with Dr.Jung,from being a patient into passion and true love.She gave her noble proof that her love was real,by letting him to choose his way,and still regarding him as a friend.The tragic destiny of Sabina is part of the Jewish tragedy during the 20th century,disappointed by the cruelty of the post-Lenin period in Russia,and later on-the Nazi holocaust.The history background is also very well told,without interrupting the plot itself.Everything here is told sensitively,and is very well acted.Emilia Fox gives here a wonderful performance,along the different situations of Sabina's complicated character and life.As Faenza made justice with Sabina's sake-we owe him.Faenza,you created a real masterpiece, and we salute you!
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Jung and his first lover/patient
silviopellerani4 April 2003
Roberto Faenza has shot a very brave film, brave because shows an argument like this in the today's film panorama should be considered very brave. Nowadays, any film that enters into the psychoanalysis field and its world should be at least seen.

In this case, Faenza shot a non Italian film, with a multi national coproduction about a sort of small biography of Carl Jung the famous psychologist who has funded a personal current beside the one developed by Siegmund Freud. The film has some very good moments, specially when Jung is at his very beginning of his career in a house hospital in Zurich and meet Caroline Ducey as his very first patient. The developing of her illness and Jung's very modern approach compared to the rest of his colleagues in the hospital is really the best part of the film, this together with the start of their love "affair" worth the whole film. Unfortunately the rest of the film is not well driven, a sort of general and confused flashback brings the old scenes to a "today" situation through a "path" that a relative of Caroline is following in Russia with the help of some old books.

Rating: 6/10
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Nice photography, but bad direction and even worse screenplay
ms016 February 2003
Very confused and confusing movie... as if the director (served by a terrible screenplay) couldn't decide what to do with it... Reflections on the healing power of love (and on its destroying power as well?)? Passionality and personality against social rules? Historical glimpse on the late 800 and early 900's psychiatry and the birth of dynamic psychoterapies (on which nothing short that a vague attention to the unconscious and the enphasis on the human relationship - as an attempt to humanize said psychiatry - is said... )? Moreover the counterpoint story in contemporary times, short of clarifying those themes, seems only to add cliché to cliché...

I'd say Emilia Fox could have worked as Sabine Spielrein, BUT in another movie with another director... Not so bad Iain Glen as the esteemed young Carl Gustav Jung, even if the real one was a much more complex person, deserving to be treated with respect and care by able hands...

Thumbs down to Jane Alexander, who should return to host TV games on Italian TV where she started...
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The life of Sabina Spielrein - a revelation to me.
opheliewinter6 August 2008
I happened to see the film yesterday and liked it a lot. Not a perfect movie, still, a must I would say. It plays a compelling picture of the life of this fascinating soul-healing lady, very much sunken into oblivion to date. I do hope this will shed more light on her professional activity. Still, one of the people commenting on the film made a mistake by stating Caroline Ducey plays the protagonist of this film, although she appears there in fact as the potential relative of Sabina Spielrein. Emilia Fox plays - not plays, not acts, actually BREATHES, LIVES - wonderfully the title role. Great shots, expressive music - all in all, it was a beautiful, emotional experience to me.
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Change of mind
tomsview12 March 2019
I saw this film after I saw "A Dangerous Method", which covers much the same territory. I didn't know it existed.

Both films feature the relationship between Carl Jung and his patient Sabina Spielrein. He became a significant pioneer in the field of psychoanalysis, but so did she. While "A Dangerous Method" deals with the morally challenged relationship, it also involves Sigmund Freud and his falling out with Jung, "The Soul Keeper" instead focuses on the life of Sabina.

"Method" has an eye-popping performance by Keira Knightley. Although I don't think "The Soul Keeper" is as successful overall, it too features a powerful portrayal of Sabina, this time by Emilia Fox. There are plenty of fireworks, but her vulnerability gets to us. Jung (Iain Glen), on the other hand, emerges as a bit of a rat.

"The Soul Keeper" uses the framing device of a modern day woman, Marie Franquin (Caroline Ducey), searching for information on Sabina's life. Grafted on maybe, but it does help bridge the gap when Sabina goes from mental patient to well-known psychoanalyst in pre-war Russia.

Marie receives help from a Scottish friend played by Craig Ferguson no less. It's a long way from his roles on the Jim Carey show or his late night U.S. talk show. This credit is buried in his CV among comedy films (I love "The Big Tease") and voice-overs for cartoons.

Sabina's transition from patient to psychoanalyst is brought out more in "A Dangerous Method" where we see her helping Jung with his work - in between spanking sessions that is. Apparently spanking and father issues were a big part of the real Sabina's hysteria. In "A Dangerous Method", we don't miss one swish of the belt, but it doesn't feature in "The Soul Keeper". However the film doesn't hold back on Sabina's degradation before her eventual recovery.

"The Soul Keeper" is well made, but the score by Andrea Guerra is overly emphatic. Howard Shore's score for "A Dangerous Method" is far more sensitive to the drama.

Both films end on a poignant note, and both reward more than one viewing.
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