For anyone who has ever suffered through a big budget pre-fab "romantic comedy," The Treatment will be a welcome antidote. Sweet, unpredictable, and, most of all, deeply real, it's a 90 minute excursion into awkward characters trying to find their footing in a world they can't quite comprehend.
Chris Eigeman winningly portrays Jake Singer, a put upon high school English teacher and assistant Basketball coach at a tony upper eastside NYC school. Dumped by his girlfriend, whom he appears to be stalking at the beginning of the movie, he seems helpless, bitter and angry. "Are you seeing anyone?" his ex asks after she notices him following her. He stumbles an answer about dating. She looks incredulous. "That's not what I meant--are you seeing a therapist?" Ouch. But it's this kind of thoughtful, character-driven humor that propels much of The Treatment, which, while perhaps not being laugh out loud hilarious, is so bitingly precise it can't help but give at least a chuckle of recognition.
Eigeman is ably supported by Ian Holm as the over-the-top Freudian analyst Singer sees (figuratively if not literally), and Famke Janssen is vulnerable and touching as a conflicted new love interest of considerably better means than Singer himself. The film is highly literate, able to utilize Singer's literary occupation to further illuminate not only his character's dilemmas, but those of Janssen and the kids he is teaching and coaching. Filled with quotes from sources as disparate as Chekhov, the English Romantics, and Camus, The Treatment never feels pedantic or forced.
The production is aided immeasurably by excellent location camerawork and an evocative jazz score by John Zorn.
The enhanced 1.78:1 image is crisp and clear, featuring great location shots of New York and Connecticut.
The standard stereo soundtrack reproduces Zorn's excellent score with great fidelity, and all dialogue is clear, though Holm's Viennese accent is a bit hard to decipher at times.
Lots of short but good extras here, including an interesting roundtable of actual psychoanalysts discussing the film and their stock in trade in general (including some truly groan-worthy Freud jokes); several deleted scenes; and a short highlighting some of director Oren Rudavsky's early works.
If the latest big budget Julia Roberts or Reese Witherspoon concoction is Hollywood's Ego on display, all conscious facade and appearance, The Treatment may well be its Id--that messy, primal force bubbling up from underneath and threatening to explode--more real, more emotional, and more fully alive, if not fully rational. Personally, I'll take that alternative as my treatment against movie-going ennui any day of the week.
"G-d made stars galore" & "Hey, what kind of a crappy fortune is this?" ZMK, modern prophet