Sunday 27 January 2013

Today's Review: The Sessions

Mark O'Brien (John Hawkes) sends most of his life in an iron lung, after a bout of polio at age six left him paralyzed below the neck and gave him breathing difficulties. After confessing his love for one of his carers doesn't work out too well, Mark, with the support of his priest (William H. Macy) finds Cheryl (Helen Hunt), a sex surrogate who teaches Mark to explore his sexual feelings and abilities in several "hands on" therapeutic sessions.

I had no idea there was even such thing as a sex surrogate, but this is all real life stuff, based on an article written by O'Brien detailing the experience. As such, there is a lot of sex involved in this movie, but there's a lot more to it than that. It's a very intimate look at the life of a man who cannot control his own body, but whose mind is extremely active. John Hawkes does a fantastic job, giving us a wonderful character who provides us with as many warm, funny moments as sad and thoughtful ones. With a great supporting cast too, this is a movie of great performances that feels very cosy and well put together.

The only trouble I really had was with how abruptly it ended. The movie got into the sessions quite quickly, built up the relationships involved, and then just seemed to grind to a halt. Sure, there was a nice ending to everything, but I was longing to find more out about these characters and what happened after. Still, it is called The Sessions, and based on an article about just the sessions, and the main bulk of the movie is a heartwarming, sometimes emotional, experience. I had no idea what this movie was when I went into it, but I certainly enjoyed it.

My rating: 4/5

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