Freud’s Last Session: what is Anthony Hopkins psychology drama about - when is AFI Fest premiere?

Anthony Hopkins and Matthew Goode star in 2023 drama film Freud's Last Session

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Freud’s Last Session is a film about the meeting of two great minds of the first half of the 20th century, founder of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud, and fantasy author C.S. Lewis.

In the film the pair meet on 1 September 1939, the day that Germany invaded Poland, and two days before Britain enters the Second World War

With Freud in the last weeks of his life, suffering from cancer of the jaw, he meets with Lewis, a promising Oxford don who was still more than a decade away from publishing The Chronicles of Narnia that would make him famous.

The pair spend hours debating the existence of God - Freud was a passionate atheist whilst Lewis converted from atheism to Christianity in 1931.

Freud’s Last Session will premiere at AFI Fest in Los Angeles this week before getting a cinematic release later in the year.

Anthony Hopkins and Matthew Goode star in Freud's Last SessionAnthony Hopkins and Matthew Goode star in Freud's Last Session
Anthony Hopkins and Matthew Goode star in Freud's Last Session

Who is in the cast of Freud’s Last Session?

  • Anthony Hopkins as Sigmund Freud
  • Matthew Goode as C. S. Lewis
  • Jodi Balfour as Dorothy Burlingham
  • Orla Brady as Janie Moore
  • Stephen Campbell Moore as JRR Tolkien
  • Liv Lisa Fries as Anna Freud
  • Rhys Mannion as Young C.S. Lewis
  • David Shields as Weldon
  • Pádraic Delaney as Warren Lewis
  • Tarek Bishara as Jacob Freud
  • George Andrew-Clarke as Paddy Moore
  • Gary Buckley as Albert Lewis

When is Freud’s Last Session on at AFI Fest?

Freud’s Last Session will have its world premiere in room one of the TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles during AFI Fest 2023. The screening will take place at 5pm on Friday 27 October.

When is Freud’s Last Session in cinemas?

The film will be released in cinemas in the US on 22 December 2023. A UK cinematic release date has not yet been confirmed.

Anthony Hopkins plays Sigmund Freud in Freud's Last SesionAnthony Hopkins plays Sigmund Freud in Freud's Last Sesion
Anthony Hopkins plays Sigmund Freud in Freud's Last Sesion

Is Freud’s Last Session based on a book?

Yes, in a roundabout way. The film is based on a stage play of the same name by author Mark St. Germain, which was first performed in 2009.

The play is itself based on the 2003 book, The Question of God: C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God, Love, Sex, and the Meaning of Life, by Armand Nicholi. In his book Nicholi presents the letters and writings of each thinker regarding their views on God and religion, but does not include an actual meeting between the pair.

Is Freud’s Last Session a true story?

The film, and the play it is based on is not directly inspired by a true story. It is not known for certain whether Freud and C.S. Lewis ever met in person, though they were aware of each other.

Freud was visited by an Oxford professor in the last month of his life, but the identity of that person remains unknown - it was this meeting that inspired Germain’s play.

Whilst Freud and Lewis were both real figures, and their beliefs about religion, family, and other matters are accurately reflected in the film, the actual meeting between the pair is fictionalised.

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