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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Touching film on a difficult topic
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...
Published 20 months ago by Paul Allaer

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars mmmmmm
This movie was not at all what I expected from the reviews. I had hoped it would be more moving.
Published 18 days ago by Mrs. P. S. Freeman


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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Touching film on a difficult topic, 12 Nov 2012
By 
Paul Allaer (Cincinnati) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Sessions [DVD] (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
5.0 out of 5 stars remarkable, 21 Jan 2013
By 
schumann_bg - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Sessions [DVD] (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
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautifully paced, tender moving story, 18 Mar 2013
This review is from: The Sessions [DVD] (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
5.0 out of 5 stars Great little film that ticks all the boxes, 5 Jun 2013
This review is from: The Sessions [DVD] (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
4.0 out of 5 stars exalant film, 18 Jun 2013
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This review is from: The Sessions [DVD] (DVD)
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "What are body awareness exercises?", 3 Dec 2013
By 
Lola (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Sessions [DVD] (DVD)
I was very looking forward to seeing "The Sessions" when the film was first released, but now I am glad that I saw it at home, yes, on the small screen, but "The Sessions" is not about cinematography or special effects, it is a film about life and relationships and love, and how love (or is it sex) makes the world go round, so to say.

I am sure you know what the film is about, but I did not. I thought it was about some therapy sessions with Helen Hunt as a renowned sexual counsellor. I knew nothing about her one particular patient, and I itch to tell you what was so special about him, but I will not. But what I can say without revealing too much is that "the patient", who finally decided to lose his virginity at the tender age of 38, is a somewhat handsome, very witty and amusing and talented man, also a devoted Catholic. There is a lot in the world that can be accounted to luck, and he struck unlucky early in life.

So, there are the six sessions (and our hero Mark goes to them blessed by his Catholic priest), there is intimacy, there is falling and love and love poems, there is a heartbreak, and there is falling in love again.

There was a lot of praise going Helen Hunt's way, and I agree, her performance was daring (i.e. there is nudity, in the broad daylight, and Helen Hunt is in her forties), but it's not the nakedness of the body that I thought was a great deal, it was the raw emotions, the bareness of the hearts, the drama, the love and understanding that goes on in "The Sessions" make it a heart-touching film. Without any cheesy moments, this is a different sort of drama. Which, despite of the difficult subject, has a great deal of comedy (I promise you William H. Macy as Mark's priest will make you smile!).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars film, 19 Aug 2013
By 
Cathy Kimber (GB) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Sessions [DVD] (DVD)
Fabulous story. Very funny despite the huge handicap of the guy in the film. A must for everyone to watch
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Charming, funny and moving, 1 July 2013
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This review is from: The Sessions [DVD] (DVD)
The Sessions - 8.5/10

A wonderful film that is handled with maturity, grace, humour and emotion. Very touching and humbling.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars WHY, OH WHY DO UK DVD DISTRIBUTORS DO THIS?, 29 May 2013
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This review is from: The Sessions [DVD] (DVD)
This review is about the whole Amazon shopping experience of this item (as it should be), not a review solely on the product content. If I was reviewing the film as per the UK Region 2 DVD, I would only give it 3 stars, but the film proper as 5 stars. Let me explain.
Like many people in the UK, I do not have a decent cinema near me anymore, so it's easier (& cheaper) to wait for the film to come out on DVD. But with the BBFC rating rules being (or so they seem) slightly different for DVD than for theatrical release, you DON'T always get to see the theatrical release on your purchased DVD (even though both film & DVD are rated '15'), AND SO IT IS THE CASE WITH 'THE SESSIONS'. I pre-purchased this item back in March. Amazon.co.uk advertised it as being 95 minutes long, possibly based on information passed to them (?) by the UK distributor, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. It is still advertised on this page today as being 95' long. When the disc arrived this month, I was reading the back of the case, to see it was shown as being 90' long. On playing it, it is in fact 91'. Immediately smelling a rat, I checked imdb and other sites selling American Region 1 discs, to see it was also showing 95'. Even iTunes, which is pretty accurate on timings shows it as 95'.
Does this matter? Well, if you like to see your films as the Director envisioned it, yes! I have long suspected that because of the apparent differences in the ratings rules, DVD distributors shave certain scenes in films, either to prevent a DVD having to be rated higher, or to enable the company to maximise profit by opening it up to more buyers. I've just remembered Ireland; they buy UK discs too, as I often notice their rating emblem on Region 2 discs, so that might be an issue here as well. As I occasionally buy obscure films only available on Region 1 to view on my pc, I purchased a Region 1 of 'The Sessions' to see if this was the case here. It arrived promptly from the U.S. yesterday. IT IS LONGER, at 95' duration. What is different? As most will suspect, time has been shaved off the sex sessions themselves. Is this important?
Well, I actually found the extra, err, bits to be quite emotive. There's a lot in the press & media at the moment about teenage exposure to porn, and the jaundiced view of sex it gives. The reality of the discussions in this film, and the physical portrayal of sex is about as real as you can get!
So, should 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment have cut four minutes off the DVD release? NO. To suggest that otherwise the disc would need to be rated '18' would be facile. In those terms, could you really say the sex portrayed in 'The Sessions' ranks alongside say, 'Nine Songs', 'Destricted', or 'Caligula'? No. This is a fine film, depicting a real issue, in a sensitive manner, and deserves to be seen in it's entirety by anyone fifteen & over.
Someone needs to sort this out. I've checked a selection of my DVD's against their Region 1 counterparts; this issue is widespread. Amazon needs to use it's much vaunted (by the press & government) power to tell companies to deliver what they promised. Film distributors need to ask the BBFC to rationalise it's ratings system. After all, this film is advertised as being 95'. We got one that was four minutes short. Do we all get our money back?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars mmmmmm, 25 Jun 2014
By 
Mrs. P. S. Freeman (uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Sessions [DVD] (DVD)
This movie was not at all what I expected from the reviews. I had hoped it would be more moving.
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The Sessions (Blu-ray + UV Copy)
The Sessions (Blu-ray + UV Copy) by Ben Lewin (Blu-ray - 2013)
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