Home Freud’s Last Session

Freud's Last Session (12A)

Cast: Jodi Balfour, Jeremy Northam, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Matthew Goode, Liv Lisa Fries
Genre: Drama
Author(s): Matt Brown, Mark St Germain
Director: Matt Brown
Release Date: 14/06/2024 (selected cinemas)
Running Time: 109mins
Country: Ire/UK/US
Year: 2023

On September 3, 1939, the day that Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain formally announces Britain is at war with Germany, 83-year-old Sigmund Freud invites CS Lewis to visit him at home so they might discuss ideas expressed in the latter's book, The Pilgrim's Regress. The novel is an allegorical response to John Bunyan's 17th-century work The Pilgrim's Progress and was published after Lewis converted to Christianity.


LondonNet Film Review

Freud’s Last Session (12A) Film Review from LondonNet

In 1939, shortly before his death in Hampstead, London after a painful battle with cancer of the jaw, psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud reportedly met with a don from the University of Oxford. No one knows if that academic was author CS Lewis but playwright Mark St Germain imagined a meeting of these two brilliant minds in his award-winning stage work, Freud’s Last Session. A stuffy fand thoughtful film adaptation, co-written by St Germain and director Matthew Brown, still feels inherently theatrical, unfolding predominantly as conversations about faith, sexuality and human frailty in drawing rooms and offices…

As played by Sir Anthony Hopkins, Freud is abundantly aware that he is a walking contradiction, especially when it comes to his views on the sexes. “I’m human. I’m inherently flawed, and I’m deeply damaged,” he notes. “And no doubt, I’m damaging to others.” Hopkins savours the meaty dialogue and shares each morsel with a movingly understated Matthew Goode as Lewis. There is plenty here to fire synapses, engage the brain and provoke debate, especially with scenes that depict Freud’s unwillingness to formally acknowledge a relationship between his daughter Anna and Tiffany heiress Dorothy Burlingham. Emotional muscles aren’t flexed quite so forcefully and Brown’s picture feels standoffish for periods.

On September 3, 1939, the day that prime minister Neville Chamberlain formally announces Britain is at war with Germany, 83-year-old Sigmund Freud (Hopkins) invites CS Lewis (Goode) to visit him at home so they might discuss ideas expressed in the latter’s book, The Pilgrim’s Regress. The novel is an allegorical response to John Bunyan’s 17th-century work The Pilgrim’s Progress and has been published after Lewis converted to Christianity.

The writer travels from his country home in Oxford, which he shares with companion Janie Moore (Orla Brady), into the capital where barrage balloons are already inflated to protect from airborne attacks. “I always find it most convenient to be warned before being bombed or shot,” deadpans Freud. The men’s discussion ebbs and flows between different topics, interrupted by an air raid siren that requires the two men to seek shelter in the basement of a nearby church. Lewis suffers a panic attack, post-traumatic stress from the Somme, and Freud tenderly eases the situation. “Focus on me,” he soothingly instructs. Meanwhile, Freud’s 43-year-old daughter Anna (Liv Lisa Fries) abandons her lecturing duties to seek morphine for her father.

Freud’s Last Session is distinguished by the verbal sparring between Hopkins and Goode, speckled with tender reminiscences including Lewis’s fraternal bond with JRR Tolkien (Stephen Campbell Moore), who has already published The Hobbit. Stately production design conveys the return of conflict to Europe and stiff-upper-lipped resolve on British shores. Forays outside of Freud’s inner sanctum allow for welcome directorial flourishes to sporadically distance the film from its stage counterpart.

– Jo Planter


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London Cinemas Showing Freud's Last Session


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Vue Islington

Tue 16:35

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UK and Irish Cinemas Showing Freud's Last Session


From: Friday 5th July
To: Thursday 11th July

Bromley Picturehouse

Wed 12:15; Thu 12:30

Regal Movieplex

Wed 18:30; Thu 19:00

Vue Edinburgh Omni Centre

Tue 17:05; Wed 15:45

Vue Plymouth

Wed 14:30

Vue Watford

Sat 23:00

Wellesley Cinema

Tue-Thu 19:30

From: Friday 12th July
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