FILM: The Sessions

The Sessions, starring John Hawkes and Helen Hunt

A movie centered on physical disabilities, religion, and sex might sound like a tough sell but that’s not the case with Ben Lewin’s film The Sessions thanks to a terrific blend of humor, intelligence, and compassion. The film follows the true life tale of poet Mark O’Brien played brilliantly by John Hawkes who was paralyzed at an early age from Polio and forced to spend the majority of his life in an iron lung and at the age of 38 he consults his priest played by William H Macy because he want to lose his virginity to a sexual surrogate played by Helen Hunt.

Lewin was interested in the story because of his own experience with Polio and does an amazing job in telling this astonishing story of perseverance, guilt, and ultimately humanity without it ever feeling hokey and he is aided by what I expect should be Oscar caliber  performances from Hawkes and Hunt.  The film is necessarily saturated in sexuality and includes full frontal nudity but it manages to go beyond the physical and asks questions that are eternal and powerful.  As the year is rounding out, this film is certainly on my short list for one of the top spots and even if your squeamish about the sexuality, it’s a must see.

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