Movie Review ‘Freud’s Last Session’

By John Thomas

The sounds from aircraft and exploding bombs interrupt the peaceful life of Sigmund Freud (Anthony Hopkins). He is pacing around his Hampstead, London sitting room awaiting the arrival of Jack (Matthew Goode), who might actually be C. S. Lewis. Despite having opposing views on most things, Freud has agreed to have a brief meeting with him.

Anna Freud (Liv Lisa Fries) is his daughter and  lives with him as part caregiver and companion. Not being in very good health, Freud is grateful for her help and companionship. Realizing it’s soon time for Jack to arrive, Anna says goodbye, leaving the two men to each other.

Jack arrives late, asking for forgiveness. He cites the air raid warnings and delays in the public transportation system as the reason.

The first item on their agenda is to agree to disagree. Their viewpoints differ on so many subjects, one wonders why they arranged to meet in the first place? As a conversation opener, Jack comments on Freud’s dog, “What breed is it and what is his name?” Freud tells him and adds the dog is his assistant. When Freud is consulting with an agitated patient, the dog stands by his side. Should the patient be calm, the dog rests at his feet. “What kind of patient does the dog think I am?” asks Jack. A late one is the terse reply.

Their edgy communication continues well into the late afternoon. The topics range from their individual participation in wars, Jewish issues, homosexual problems, Freud’s controversial approach to medicine, hypnosis, Freud’s addictions and the approach of WWII.

Jack declines the offer of a whiskey (it’s too early). Freud adds a squirt of morphine to his glass – it’s never too early. An alarm sounds, so the two are to required evacuate to the safety of a bomb shelter in the nearby church. This location calls for new topics of discussion – mainly religious beliefs.

The air raid is a false alarm, allowing the two men to return home for more discussions and disagreements. Jack accepts the offer of a drink – Freud has another, including another dash of morphine.

In the early 20s, Freud took up smoking, thinking it would enhance his brain functions. The only thing it enhanced is his oral cancer. He is in tremendous pain from this condition, with the drug as his only relief.

He suggests Jack take the dog for a walk so he can rest a moment on the couch. He is suffering and doesn’t want Jack to witness how debilitating his condition is. When Jack returns with the dog, Freud has a new topic to discuss – suicide.

Directed by. Matthew Brown (Credits: “The Man Who Knew Infinity,” “Ropewalk”), “Freud’s Last Session” runs 122 minutes and is a “should see” for performances by important actors who realistically reveal the later life of the famed Austrian physician who brought controversy and new ideas to the medical profession. 

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