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I’M sure how many film­go­ers had read Yann Martel’s novel be­fore see­ing Life of Pi, but the film proved a huge hit over the hol­i­days thanks largely, I would guess, to that great pub­lic­ity shot of the boy in a boat with a tiger. What fam­ily au­di­ence could re­sist? In Cameron Crowe’s We Bought a Zoo (Wed­nes­day, 6.30pm, M Fam­ily), we get not only a tiger but also lions, bears — a whole menagerie — not to men­tion a qui­etly en­gag­ing Matt Da­mon. He plays a Los An­ge­les jour­nal­ist who quits his job af­ter the death of his wife, sells his home and moves with his two chil­dren into a di­lap­i­dated old house with a pri­vate zoo. Ex­cel­lent per­for­mances from both the two-legged and four-legged casts, with Scar­lett Jo­hans­son mak­ing a beau­ti­ful zookeeper. Crowe’s film is based on a mem­oir by a Bri­tish jour­nal­ist, Ben­jamin Mee, who re­stored a run­down pri­vate zoo and re­opened it with his fam­ily in 2007.

If your chief im­pres­sions of Keira Knight­ley were shaped by, say, Pride and Prej­u­dice and Pi­rates of the Caribbean, you may find her per­for­mance as Sabina Spiel­rein in A Dan­ger­ous Method (Wed­nes­day, 8.30pm, M Pre­miere) lit­tle short of ter­ri­fy­ing. Spiel­rein was a Rus­sian Jewish woman who was cured by Swiss psy­chi­a­trist Carl Jung of a se­ri­ous men­tal dis­or­der (and went on to be­come his mis­tress and cler­i­cal as­sis­tant). At our first sight of Spiel­rein she is be­ing dragged into Jung’s con­sult­ing room, con­vul­sive and hys­ter­i­cal, her features hor­ri­bly dis­torted with rage and fear. Un­der anal­y­sis, it emerges that she was reg­u­larly beaten by her fa­ther, a trau­matic (and sex­u­ally arous­ing) ex­pe­ri­ence that Jung treats by ad­min­is­ter­ing beat­ings of his own — a dan­ger­ous method frowned on by his men­tor Sig­mund Freud, the founder of psy­cho­anal­y­sis. David Cro­nen­berg’s ab­sorb­ing film (from a Christo­pher Hamp­ton play) is about the re­la­tion­ship of Freud and Jung (su­perbly played by Viggo Mortensen and Michael Fassbender, re­spec­tively). Cro­nen­berg leaves us with some trou­bling re­flec­tions on psy­chi­a­try and the global in­san­ity that led to World War I.

Never Let Me Go (Mon­day, 5pm, M Mas­ter­piece) is a haunt­ing film from di­rec­tor Mark Ro­manek from Kazuo Ishig­uro’s novel. Kathy (Carey Mul­li­gan) and Tommy (An­drew Garfield) have been raised in an in­sti­tu­tion, where they dis­cover, quite early in the film, that they have been cloned for their body parts, which at some stage will be do­nated for med­i­cal pur­poses. The story touches us more deeply be­cause the young peo­ple ac­cept their fate as a nat­u­ral, per­haps a no­ble, des­tiny. Even when they are grown up and mak­ing their first

do­na­tions’’, none of them thinks of hid­ing or run­ning away or break­ing their story to the out­side world. For Kathy and Tommy there is no out­side world.

Critic’s choice

(M) ★★★ ✩ Mon­day, 5pm, M Mas­ter­piece

(MA15+) ★★★★✩ Wed­nes­day, 8.30pm, M Pre­miere

(PG) ★★★✩✩ Wed­nes­day, 6.30pm, M Fam­ily

A Dan­ger­ous Method

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