The Sessions is a touching tale of a disabled man’s journey to lose his virginity.
Mark O’Brien at a young age contracted polio which left him with only the power to move his head. He spends most of his life now in a contraption called the iron lung which allows him to breathe. He has a couple of caretakers who take care of him and transport him where he wants to go. Mark is a poet/writer by trade. He discovers a way to lose his virginity when he is contacted to write an article about the sex lives of disabled people. He gets in contact with a sex surrogate named Cheryl and over a series of seesions he begins sthe quest of finally losing his virginity.
The film, although very comedic on the surface, is extremely moving and heartfelt at its core. The script, written by the director, Ben Lewin, and adapted from the article by Mark O’Brien, is exceptionally well written. This film could have easily been a one note comedic crowd pleaser that could have been forgotten a week after viewing. However, the film found its spark first in the script and second with the acting. John Hawkes gives an awards worthy performance as Mark. He made me care about his character’s journey; more than I actually wanted to. Hawkes drew me in to the narrative and made me invest my attention to the story of Mark O’Brien. Helen Hunt also reminds everyone how great she is giving a stunning performance as the sex surrogate, Cheryl. John Hawkes and Helen Hunt has such great chemistry which elevates the film to another level. Another standout performance came from William H. Macy as a priest who befriends Mark and talks to him about his sessions; sometimes in front of the altar which makes his scenes that much more funny.
The Sessions finds humor in the parts of sexuality that many would find very uncomfortable to talk about to anyone let alone in public places, and yet, Mark has no qualms talking about it anywhere. The Sessions overall is a very funny and deeply moving film and I enjoyed watching it.
The Sessions is now playing in select cities. Check out the trailer below.