Psychotherapy is a damn hard thing to build a two-hour film around. Static and talky by nature, the traditional Freudian "talking cure" tends to work best when there's some tension and antagonism in the relationship between doctor and patient, as in "Girl, Interrupted" or "Good Will Hunting." Even "A Dangerous Method," which explored Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud's development of the practice, had to throw in professional rivalries and a torrid affair to spice things up.

Yet "Jimmy P. Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian" not only serves up psychotherapy as its main course — two guys, sitting in a room, talking quietly — it develops a warm, trusting bond between them. The only dramatic tension comes from whether the patient's mysterious illness is in fact a physical or a mental one.

Certainly the patient's symptoms seem real enough: Jimmy P. (Benicio del Toro) is a Native American World War II vet with a head injury who seems to be suffering from something like post-traumatic stress disorder, with crippling headaches, vision loss and vertigo. His sister accompanies him to a veterans' hospital in Topeka, Kansas, where, after a battery of tests, the doctors come up with nothing. On the verge of diagnosing him as schizophrenic, one doctor calls in an old friend, real-life psychoanalyst Georges Devereux (played by Mathieu Amalric), who has some knowledge of Native American tribes. Devereux begins daily therapy with Jimmy, convinced he's not a nutcase, and equally convinced that he will find the root of the problem.