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Freud's Last Session Review - Val Ruloff

Dealing as it does with no lightweight subject matters, this film is by definition quite intense and merits some levels of concentration. The film does also manage to achieve simultaneous lighter layers and humorous content, too. The premise behind the film is certainly gripping, falling into a "category" of story (somewhat) based on actual events but requiring a leap of the imagination and some creativity and thinking outside the box. 

After all, what an amazing idea to envisage such a meeting of minds as that between the writer, great thinker and author of The Chronicles of Narnia, C. S. Lewis, and Sigmund Freud, founder of psychoanalysis and also great thinker.

The themes contained in Freud's Last Session are definitely dealing with the most profound experiences of mankind, existential issues concerning (literally) matters of life and death, complexities of the human mind and behaviours, religious belief and the existence of God, the future of humanity set against the very real backdrop of Second World War breaking out in 1939. How heavy-laden does all this sound? Yet... Freud's Last Session conveys something altogether more nuanced and intriguing by delving more into the humanity of the two main characters and developing the relationship between them... with results offering some perspectives and insights which prove fascinating. The relationship context is developed by some of the biographical elements of both Sigmund Freud and C. S. Lewis portrayed during the course of events in the film. These include Freud's youth and experience of his own parents, as well as his own formative experience and knowledge of religion and own personal family life. C. S. Lewis's friendship with writer J.R.R. Tolkien and his First World War experiences, comradeship and also bond with his lost comrade's mother is featured, too. Freud's terminal illness and suffering as he nears the end of his life is very poignantly and truthfully illustrated.

The two leads are very well cast and extremely watchable, with Sir Anthony Hopkins as Sigmund Freud and Matthew Goode as C.S. Lewis. Supporting cast is also very strong. Liv Lisa Fries plays Anna Freud, Sigmund Freud's daughter, and Jodi Balfour plays Dorothy Burlingham. Support performances include Orla Brady playing Janie Moore and Jeremy Northam in role as Ernest Jones.

The photography beautifully evokes the period of the Second World War and the eras depicted in the film. The whole effect is enhanced wonderfully by the music score, also. We even get to hear a musical composition and performance by Sir Anthony Hopkins featured as part of the score!

I was transfixed throughout the film... by the interesting and absorbing subject content, of course. The characterisations are also most compelling. I love the woods motif, heavily laden with metaphor for both C. S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud. The only question remaining is.... what then is the meaning of life? Maybe the answer is the same as that given by Douglas Adams... forty-two.


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