I’ll be blunt, this is a serious film that requires your attention. This isn’t to say that it can’t be enjoyed casually – because Peter Sarsgaard’s voice is enough to make me want to see any of his films, dreamy – but it poses some serious questions about human interaction, and the willingness to torture each other.
So without ruining the plot, Stanley Milgram (Peter Sarsgaard) is a social psychologist who devised an experiment that would test an individuals willingness to obey instructions, even if it meant torturing somebody else.
The film is artsy enough to satiate the needs of film critics (to which it has received rave reviews) but intellectually accessible enough that the general audience will find value in what Milgram is experimenting. It did drag at moments, and the casual appearance of an elephant walking alongside Milgram during two of his monologues threw me through a loop, but it had some genuinely hilarious moments alongside the moments of revelation and self questioning that comes with watching any film involving social psychology.
Winona Ryder did an excellent job as Sasha Menkin Milgram, Stanley’s beloved wife and secretary, providing both awkward relationship scenes and beautifully candid romantic moments.
If you’re interested in human interaction, or any social behavior, this is a must see. Milgram’s work, while controversial, has helped shaped the way academics approach the study of social psychology, and you will be interested to learn how common some of Milgram’s experiments are in every day life.
Experimenter opens on November 19.