A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Highlights the importance of philosophical discussions and tries to show examples of seeing things from someone else's point of view, but the main characters ultimately stay within their set thinking and don't truly grow from the experience. Also a small focus on having the courage to make the right decisions for your life, despite what your family or society might say.
Positive Role Models
Sigmund Freud and C.S. Lewis are positive in the sense that their legacies have enriched the world through psychology and literature, respectively. But the characters don't exhibit either good or negative qualities overtly in this film, apart from loving their families and disliking violence and war. Other characters demonstrate courage in living authentically.
All main characters are White and, aside from Freud's daughter, Anna, and her partner, Dorothy, there isn't a prominent female presence in the film. But the women do offer positive queer representation; they choose to be together despite what Freud and society had to say about their relationship. The film also highlights the plight of Germany's Jewish population during World War II--Freud and his family fled Nazi Germany to start over in London.
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Violence & Scariness
Scenes of war violence: flashbacks of fighting in the bunkers during World War I. Freud's decision to die by assisted suicide is described at the end of the film.
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Xenophobic and nationalistic rhetoric from Hitler (archived clip) and characters who are members of the Nazi party.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Freud takes pills to help with the pain of his oral cancer. Freud drinks alcohol.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Freud's Last Session is a drama about a fictional meeting of the minds between psychologist Sigmund Freud (Anthony Hopkins) and author C.S. Lewis (Matthew Goode). The characters have philosophical discussions about God/faith, and the movie tries to show examples of seeing things from someone else's point of view, but the main characters ultimately stay within their set thinking and don't truly grow from the experience. Expect flashbacks to moments of violence during WWI, and some xenophobic and nationalistic rhetoric. Freud's decision to die by assisted suicide is described at the end of the film. While main characters are White men, the film includes positive representation of queer female relationships. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This drama might have been more engaging as a play than it is translated into film. While it's great to see stellar actors like Hopkins and Goode chomping the scenery with each other, it would have been even better if we could have seen more of their performances without them being intercut with flashbacks, which slow the film down. It would also have been better if the dialogue was as punchy as it is pithy; the conversation does flow, but somehow there isn't as much gravitas in the script as the filmmaker might seem to think there is. At the end of the day, Freud's Last Session feels a lot like two people talking in circles about theories they won't concede on, which would be boring in real life, let alone in a film.
Perhaps if more urgent camerawork had been used -- or if the film had provided a more solid reason why the two men's conversation about God's existence is important -- the end result would have been more compelling. A debate about God's existence and what it might mean could make for great intellectual drama, but the stakes surrounding the conversation here -- what it means to each character and why they feel they must prove the other person wrong -- must be spelled out for the audience to get invested. As it stands, Freud's Last Session feels elitist just for the sake of being so, void of any real resolution or change in the characters. Ultimately, that lack of change makes the film feel like it was just an exercise that would have been better left on the page than drawn out into a film.
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Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.