In the 18th century, when leeches and other forms of forced bloodletting are still cutting-edge medical science, Austrian doctor Franz Anton Mesmer (Alan Rickman) believes he has a better way. His theory involves the use of magnets and an early form of hypnosis. Though hugely controversial, his techniques begin to gain public acceptance when celebrated pianist Maria Theresa Paradies (Amanda Ooms) becomes a devoted patient and the doctor leaves his native Vienna for Paris.
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