Review: Freud’s Last Session

By: Robert Prentice

London, September 3rd, 1939. The world is on the brink of war. In his final days, Sigmund Freud, a recent escapee with his daughter from the Nazi regime, receives a visit from the formidable Oxford Don C.S. Lewis (The Chronicles of Narnia). On this day, two of the greatest minds of the twentieth century intimately engage in a monumental session over the belief in the future of mankind and the existence of God.


Freud’s Last Session takes us through the final days of Sigmund Freud (Hopkins), as he has a session of intellectual tennis with literary author C.S. Lewis (Goode). Throughout the film, each’s backstory is told through flashbacks reliving the First World War for Lewis and reliving his escape from Germany for Freud. Each having their past regrets, fears, and secrets, they each explore each other’s vulnerabilities as Freud tries to convince Lewis that God is a delusion.

Sir Anthony Hopkins gives a stellar performance as the stubborn psychoanalyst who in his final days refused to let go of his belief that there was no God or to let his daughter live her own life. Goode for his role as C.S. Lewis continues to provide solid performances in period pieces centered around characters of intelligence and arrogance at times.  It is not hard to see C.S. Lewis’ inspiration for his books in his experiences during the war.

At the end of what would be Freud’s final session with Lewis, they never really settled the debate, though each walked away respecting the other. And nothing showed that more than the book Freud gave Lewis as a parting gift, one of his first published works of fiction The Pilgrim’s Regress. In it, Freud wrote a note, “From error to error one discovers the entire truth”. This famous quote of Freud’s was perhaps a passing jab at Lewis to learn the errors of his ways regarding his faith. Or perhaps it was Freud himself admitting that he could learn from his own mistakes in the past and perhaps find some faith in the end. Seemingly both Freud and Lewis found inspiration and contentment in their intellectual back and forth under the looming pressure of a new war.

Freud ultimately took his life in 1939, but not before visiting an unnamed Oxford don, whom it is unknown whether it was Lewis or not. Lewis would go on to open his home to children evacuating during the war, which would later become the inspiration for The Chronicles of Narnia book series.

Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics 2024.

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