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Franz (Simon Morze) is a naive 17-year-old boy sent from a rural area of Austria to work in Vienna as an apprentice to Otto (Johannes Krisch) in his tobacco shop. Their most famous client is Sigmund Freud (Bruno Ganz). He has a fondness for Cuban cigars and a sensitivity to the wants and needs of those who come to him for advice.

Anezka and Franz at the fair.

While at a fair, Franz becomes infatuated with a pretty and sexy Bohemian girl named Anezka (Emma Drogunova). After he starts having vivid dreams about her, he decides to talk to Freud about them. Naturally, given the focus of his work, the psychiatrist is a good listener.

The Tobacconist is directed by Nikolaus Leytner who takes away from the focus and intensity of Franz's coming-of-age experiences by switching gears as the Nazis take over Vienna. Franz finds himself in a new situation when Otto is branded a "Jew lover" and his shop is burned down. The saving grace of this drama, based on a novel by Robert Seethaler, is the slowly blooming friendship between Franz and Sigmund Freud.