The Last Shaman: how to save a life – 7/10

his is the story of James Freeman, a young American who grew up in a little town outside of Boston. While attending a prestigious college he becomes clinically depressed. After developing suicidal thoughts he get send to a psychiatric hospital where he gets medicine and electroconvulsive therapy. But James is disappointed in western medicine and is determined to try an alternative way.

And that`s where his journey starts. After all the suicidal thoughts he decides to give himself 10 months to find a way out of his personal hell. If it doesn`t work then he will end his life. James goes to Iquitos in Peru to visit a shaman an try ayahuasca. Ayahuasca is a psychoactive brew made out of different sorts of plants, known to give users spiritual revelations regarding their purpose on earth.


During his trip in the amazon James meets 3 different shamans. He finds out that a lot of them want to make money and that only true healers don`t charge money. At the end he meets a shaman called Pepe, a humble man with a silent presence. In a little village in the jungle he undergoes a life changing experience with the help of Pepe. While following a Ayahuasca ritual he gets  deeper sense of understanding and acceptance of himself. He finally enters a process of forgiving  his parents for not understanding his sensitivity as a child and having such high standards for him.

He leaves Peru without being completely cured of his mental illness, but instead finding a sense of hope. He no longers feels numb of experiencing any emotions. You could say that the alternative medicine worked for James Freeman, although it was not an easy path to go. This documentary doesn`t suggest that Ayahuasca is the best way to cure depression nor does it suggest that western medicine is evil. It just shows one path to follow. The story of James is about fighting hard against depressing and going above and beyond to save your own life.

What is your opinion on alternative medicine? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section.

You can watch the documentary ‘The last Shaman (2016)’ now on Netflix.

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