Director and co-writer Matt Brown imagines a meeting between Sigmund Freud (Anthony Hopkins) and CS Lewis (Matthew Goode), the author of Chronicles of Narnia.
We know that Freud met an eminent Oxford professor three weeks before his death in 1939. And although we don't know who it is, director Matt Brown decided to adapt the play by Mark St. Germain in collaboration with the playwright, who imagines that the mysterious visitor is none other than CS Lewis, author of the famous Chronicles of Narnia and Professor of Literature.
Between the two men, who are completely opposites – Freud is a man of science who developed psychoanalysis around ideas that were revolutionary for his time, while CS Lewis is a theologian and convinced Christian – a dialogue takes place that touches on all current topics Second worldwar.
Is it because we're used to pithy dialogue, like in “The Social Network,” but Freud's “Last Session” quickly comes across as a stylistic exercise for scholars. Fortunately, the news from 1939 comes back to the fore from time to time, like the sound of sirens when Hitler has just invaded Poland, or the scenes in which Freud, suffering from oral cancer, keeps adding morphine to his drinks and suffers terribly.
We also follow with interest his relationships with his daughter Anna (Liv Lisa Fries) and Dorothy Burlingham (Jodi Balfour, revelation in the excellent AppleTV+ series For All Mankind), her companion and colleague. But beyond this human curiosity, Freud's discourse on sexuality, homosexuality and relationships between parents and children seems at best outdated and at worst dangerous, reminiscent of Michel's 2010 essay “Onfray – The Twilight of an Idol”.
Freud's Last Session is therefore an intellectual delight dominated by the dazzling performance of Anthony Hopkins, a chameleon actor par excellence, alongside whom Matthew Goode cuts an excellent figure.
Rating: 3 out of 5
Freud's Last Session hits theaters on January 12th.