The Sessions

  • Year:2012
  • Rating:MA
  • Director:Ben Lewin
  • Cast:John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, William H. Macy
  • Release Date:November 08, 2012
  • Distributor:20th Century Fox
  • Running time:95 minutes
  • Film Worth:$18.50
  • FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

Driven by John Hawkes’ inspired turn, this is a candid, funny and touching charmer.

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California, 1988: Journalist and poet, Mark O’Brien, is faced with an unusual problem. Paralysed from the neck down as a result of childhood polio, he’s spent his entire adult life confined to an iron long, without which he cannot survive for more than a few hours a day. As a result, he’s never had a serious relationship, or experienced any physical intimacy. Based on O’Brien’s autobiographical essay, “On Seeing A Sex Surrogate”, The Sessions is a hilarious, heartfelt and surprisingly accessible indie drama about a truly inspiring hero. Or, to be more specific, a truly inspiring hero who desperately wants to get laid.

After spine-chilling portrayals in Winter’s Bone and Martha Marcy May Marlene, John Hawkes shows his versatility as the nervous, self-deprecating O’Brien, a disarming performance that’s sure to be recognised come Oscar season. Across from him is Helen Hunt as Cheryl, the surrogate who slowly coaxes her patient out of his shell while struggling with a growing romantic attachment, as well as William H. Macy as Mark’s close friend and pastor, Father Bryan, who agrees to turn a blind eye to Mark’s premarital endeavours, and is convinced that The Lord will do the same.

A polio survivor himself, Australian writer/director, Ben Lewin, proves the perfect filmmaker to bring Mark’s story to the screen. The script is frequently laugh out loud funny – particularly priceless are Father Bryan’s reactions as Mark recounts, in vivid detail, his various sexual accomplishments. The sex scenes, meanwhile, are neither gratuitous nor coy, but honest depictions of uncertainty, vulnerability, and pleasure. Frank and funny with excellent performances, immensely likeable characters, and an emotional streak that’s touching without ever being saccharine, The Sessions is a sex comedy that you could happily take your grandparents to.           

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