The film tells of Isaac Barr (Richard Gere), a top notch San Francisco Freudian psychiatrist, who has Diana Baylor (Uma Thurman) on the patient's couch. He's treating her for frightening and horrific childhood memories which include images of her drunken father and his death in a fire for which she was blamed.
It's implied that, as part of the treatment, Isaac speaks to Heather to find out more about her sister's past experiences and to determine if she might provide information Diana has forgotten.
Not long after Heather seduces Isaac and a steamy affair follows.
The problem: Heather is married to Jimmy Evans (Eric Roberts), a violent and wealthy gangster. She has a way of embarrassing Jimmy in public by taking a sip of wine and then flipping into an attack of "pathological intoxication," which can end with the restaurant in shambles.
Soon, we discover it's not Diana that needs the professional psychiatric help but Heather. She's trying to involve unsuspecting Isaac in a plan to murder Jimmy and collect a 4 million dollar double indemnity life insurance policy on him. She's also using Diana as bait and have Isaac framed for the murder.
Given that Barr is a licensed psychiatrist, some of his actions make the audience's suspension of disbelief difficult. From the beginning Dr. Barr seems to handle the case unethically. For example, when Heather Evans enters Barr's office one night, claims to be the sister of one of his clients and starts pumping him for information, Barr complies with her request. Barr's disclosures are clear ethical violations. Also, Barr's romantic involvement with Evans is also an unethical act. In addition, during the trial can a friend of the defendant testify as an expert witness? The answer is: probably not.
In Northern California filming locations include: Sir Francis Drake Hotel, San Francisco; Fort Baker, Marin County; Highland General Hospital, Oakland; Pigeon Point Lighthouse, Pescadero; and Sausalito.
Vincent Canby, film critic for The New York Times, was pleased with the work of the actors in the film and wrote, "Mr. Gere and Ms. Basinger are attractive as the furious lovers, but Mr. Roberts is the film's electrical force whenever he is on screen. Ms. Thurman does well as a sort of up scale slavey.
The staff at Variety magazine gave the film a positive film review, writing, "Final Analysis is a crackling good psychological melodrama [from a screen story by Robert Berger and Wesley Strick] in which star power and slick surfaces are used to potent advantage. Tantalizing double-crosses mount right up to the eerie final scene.
However, many reviews were similar to film critic Kathleen Maher's views. She believes the director was painting by numbers in this thriller and repeats what's been filmed in many film noirs before. She wrote, "Joanou, with his puppy dog devotion to noir thrillers and Hitchcock, is hoping to get it all right by painting by the numbers. He's mixed parts of Double Indemnity, The Big Sleep, and Vertigo, but the result doesn't even live up to Dead Again..." Maher also says she's seen Gere's acting like this before, and added: "[B]ut Gere reverts to that shell-shocked acting style he adopts when lost at sea.
Currently, the film has a 53 percent "Rotten" rating at Rotten Tomatoes, based on fifteen reviews.
The box-office receipts were considered poor given the talent of Gere and Basinger, and the well regarded director. The first week's gross was $6,411,441 and the total receipts for the four week run were $22,742,734. The film was in wide release for twenty-four days.
In its widest release the film was featured in 1,599 theaters across the United Sates.