KSL Movie Show review: ‘Freud’s Last Session’ may intrigue viewers

Jan 22, 2024, 12:00 PM | Updated: Feb 2, 2024, 9:59 am

Caricature image of KSL movie reviewer Steve Salles alongside the poster for 'Freud's Last Session'...

(Poster courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics)

(Poster courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics)

SALT LAKE CITY — You’d think at the age of 86, Sir Anthony Hopkins would be sitting back, contemplating life’s mysteries and tickling the ivories (he’s a piano virtuoso). Instead, he reads a new script 250 times out loud before filming and memorizes a new poem each week.

Slowing down? Not likely.

Hopkins plays Dr. Sigmund Freud, the famed father of psychoanalysis, who has fled Austria to England in his late years to avoid the Nazi’s, who were not fans of his work. World War II is eminent in 1939, but he takes time to meet with a don from Oxford who was never identified. However, to make things more interesting for this movie, a book and later a stage play, it was decided that it might have been Professor C.S. Lewis, a well-known religious scholar.

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Lewis, who went by Jack to his friends, is played by the magnificent Matthew Goode. Goode also played Robert Evans in the brilliant TV mini-series “The Offer.”

Thus, these two heavyweights of thought debating the nature or existence of God, is fairly interesting. Also, considering the strengths of the performances of Hopkins and Goode, I think it created something quite extraordinary.

So they meet at Freud’s English home. Sigmund is already bristling at Lewis’s tardiness on their arrival. However, the young professor has a decent excuse. All the trains are filled with British children being evacuated to the English countryside for their protection against the upcoming bombing raids by the Germans.

After awkward niceties are exchanged, cranky Freud who is dealing with painful oral cancer, attacks Lewis as a child who clings to his religious beliefs based on his family traditions. To which, Lewis calmly replies that he didn’t discover his faith until later in life and had nothing to do with family.

Eventually, the two great thinkers settle in on a spirited discussion of religion versus science, but you can begin to see a growing respect, despite their vast differences. What a great lesson for today’s world. Have a raucous conversation about a particular, personal idea, but in the end, when no one is convinced either way, you shake hands and go about your day.

Wouldn’t that be a breath of fresh air?

‘Freud’s Last Session’ matters to word lovers

That’s what I took from this movie. Perhaps, you’ll find something else that intrigues you. Regardless, watching two great actors having a semi-civil dialog about the nature of man and his relationship with a deity, was all I needed from this film.

Additionally, we witness Freud’s daughter Anna, who was a brilliant doctor in her own right but obsessively devoted to her father, face his demands and set him straight.

Freud’s Last Session is not the greatest movie, but where and when words matter, it’s pretty high up there.

FREUD’S LAST SESSION (B+) Rated PG-13 for thematic material, some bloody/violent images, sexual material, and smoking. Starring Anthony Hopkins, Matthew Goode, and Liv Lisa Fries. Co-written and directed by Matt Brown (“The Man Who Knew Infinity” “Ropewalk”) – filmed in the UK and Dublin. Running time: 122 minutes.

Steve Salles is the co-host of the KSL Movie Show. Follow the show on Facebook. Join the KSL Movie Show Club for exclusive perks by texting MOVIE to 57500. 

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KSL Movie Show review: ‘Freud’s Last Session’ may intrigue viewers