The Sessions 2012

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(28) IMDb 7.2/10
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Ben Lewin writes and directs this Academy Award-nominated drama about the sexual awakening of a life-long polio sufferer. John Hawkes stars as Mark O'Brien, a writer in his late thirties who has spent his life lying horizontally in an iron lung since a debilitating childhood bout of polio. A poet and a romantic, Mark has lived a life devoid of sexual intimacy. When he is given the job of writing an article about the sex lives of the disabled, he arranges - with the support of his local priest, Father Brendan (William H. Macy) - to employ the services of sexual surrogate Cheryl (Helen Hunt). Their 'sessions' take Mark on an unexpected journey of discovery and self-awareness.

Starring:
Helen Hunt, William H. Macy
Rental Formats:
DVD, Blu-ray

Product Details

Discs
  • Feature ages_15_and_over
Runtime 1 hour 35 minutes
Starring Helen Hunt, William H. Macy, Annika Marks, Rhea Perlman, Moon Bloodgood, John Hawkes, Adam Arkin, W. Earl Brown
Director Ben Lewin
Genres Drama
Studio 20th Century Fox
Rental release 19 July 2013
Main languages English
Discs
  • Feature ages_15_and_over
Runtime 1 hour 35 minutes
Starring Helen Hunt, William H. Macy, Annika Marks, Rhea Perlman, Moon Bloodgood, John Hawkes, Adam Arkin, W. Earl Brown
Director Ben Lewin
Genres Drama
Studio 20th Century Fox
Rental release 19 July 2013
Main languages English

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Paul Allaer TOP 500 REVIEWER on 12 Nov 2012
Format: DVD
Ever since "The Sessions" made its smash debut at the Sundance Film Festival in early 2012, this movie has gotten the reputation of "that movie with a lot of Helen Hunt nudity in it", and while it is true there are a number of nude scenes in the movie, I hope you will agree with me that, after you will hopefully have seen this film, this movie surely is about a lot more than that.

"The Sessions" (2012 release; 95 min.) brings the (real life) story of Mark O'Brien (played by John Hawkes), a Bay-area poet who lives in an iron lung as a result of polio when he was a little kid. In his late 30s, Mark wonders what if would be like "to be with a woman in the biblical sense", as he confides to his priest (played by William H. Macy). With the priest's blessing, Mark eventually gets in contact with a sex therapist, who in turn gets him in contact with Cheryl (played by Helen Hunt), a sex surrogate. Over the course of several sessions (hence the fiml's title), Cheryl gives "body awareness" tips and experiences. I'm not going to spoil your viewing experience by disclosing how it all plays out, but I will say that the last half hour of the movie is bittersweet and very touching, and I welled up more than once.

Several comments: first and foremost, John Hawke's performance will simply blow you away. I cannot imagine that he will not get an Oscar nomination for this. Of course, Helen Hunt's performance surely is Oscar-worthy as well, and not only because of the daring and frequent (but never exploitive) nudity. The immediate subject matter of the movie (sex for the disabled) is handled with care and grace. The buzz for this movie has been steadily growing in recent months, and I must say I was quite surprised how poorly attended the screening was which I attended this weekend here in Cincinnati. Maybe it was just a coincidence. I sure hope so, as I very much enjoyed this movie from start to finish. "The Sessions" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By schumann_bg TOP 100 REVIEWER on 21 Jan 2013
Format: DVD
The Sessions is a very beautiful film, focusing on the true-life experiences of a man who had polio as a child and spends much of the time in an iron lung. It shows his brave attempts to experience sexuality with a lot of humour as well as self-doubt, and the actor, John Hawkes, is amazing, as is Helen Hunt as the sex surrogate who helps him along this path. The performances ring absolutely true and leave you moved and full of admiration for them both, as does William H. Macy's turn as a Catholic priest. The effect of the film is very concentrated, with the camera often quite low to capture the character's viewpoint - he is always horizontal - but the tone is humorous and easy-going, even with the sadness which is very present also. The three faces draw you in to it as a visual experience, so you start to see them as carrying so much humanity. Don't be put off by the trailer, which gives the (false) impression there is a lot of background pop music - the tone of the actual film is much more rewarding and doesn't hop around like a lot of modern-day films! By the end it has achieved remarkable grace; it is the kind of film which modern frankness about sexual matters has allowed to be made, and seems to me to represent a strand of contemporary filmmaking at its very finest, dealing with a range of sexual and personal areas with a directness that wouldn't have been possible even in the very liberated 1970s. For me it is a much more fruitful subject than modern adventure epics full of CGI, and gives one hope for the future of cinema as a noble art form in that it creates empathy, but not in a sentimental or false way, and with a certain understatement, in spite of the openness already mentioned. Really it's the best new film I've seen for many months.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By N on 18 Mar 2013
Format: DVD
I know we tend to say in life, "people have different views of things", but if someone could watch this film and not just enjoy it and be moved then I find that very difficult to understand indeed. Anyone who feels the need to criticize it in anyway does not deserve the privilege of seeing such a tenderly treated story of a man's journey in an area of life previously denied to him. Anyway, forgive the concerns, but such a film is a treat and makes you appreciate your 'normal' life as a result. And that can only be a good thing for all of us.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Martin A. Shackleton on 5 Jun 2013
Format: DVD
I was worried having heard about this film that it would be a sickly mixture of American soft-porn and cheesy tear-jerker. I was wrong - it's a wonderfully executed piece mixing humour with sensitive treatment of the topic of disability. The premise that polio victim Mike O'Brien is determined to find some way of losing his cherry is not too far-fetched. Having consulted with his priest, played with typical aplomb by William H Macey, he gets in touch with a "sex-surrogate" who will guide him through the necessary steps. Enter the fabulous Helen Hunt as said surrogate who steers him through the fears and the premature ejaculations to reach the nirvana of simultaneous (almost) orgasm. The effect on his life and on her private life slowly unfolds...I'm obviously not going to give away the ending. It's a funny and moving piece which I thoroughly recommend - principal characters and supporting cast all play their parts well.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A ndrew Thorne on 18 Jun 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I have MS and it was lovely to see a film that gives disabled people hope in having a relationship with someone and falling in love.
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