Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Movie Review: The Sessions

Since I no longer live in NYC i have mixed feelings about indie movies. They are generally some of the best made, most underrated films out there but now that i live in a smaller media market, even getting access to see an indie film without renting it becomes a crapshoot. Weeks after they are open in NY and LA you maybe get a 2-3 week run at a small independently run theater. I'm still very glad i got to see The Sessions.

Mark O'Brien is 30-something year old man who was crippled from the neck down by polio as a child. He managed to live much longer than usually expected, graduated from college and works as a freelance writer. He spends most of his days in an iron lung. Based loosely on a true story, Mark (John Hawkes) ends up writing an article about his time with a sex surrogate. This movie is about him connecting and falling in love with is assistant, his platonic relationship with her replacement Vera (Moon Bloodgood)  his new found relationship with his priest Father Brendan (William H Macy), and his sessions with a sex surrogate Cheryl played by Helen Hunt.

Mark is smart, witty and does not feel bad for himself. His journey to lose his virginity and how he falls in love with his first assistant Amanda who unfortunately doesn't return the feelings. When he goes down the path with Cheryl, you know that he is bound to fall in love with her but the way she begins to care about him and let her into her live startles her and upsets her husband. Helen Hunt is pretty convincing as a deeply caring surrogate who has the level of sensitivity needed but knows she's crossing rules she shouldn't. She does a full frontal in this film which is jarring because you think how badly she needs to gain some weight. Father Brendan and mark have the level of exchanges that keep you laughing till you have tears int eh corners of your eyes. Mark is deeply catholic and after getting the a-ok from his priest to have sex outside of marriage the confessionals and how they give Father Brendan such mixed feelings are killer. I loved their exchanges its was worth everything. Mark tells his recounts of his sessions with his surrogate in such detail to his priest, its hilarious.

I give this movie a full price. I can't begin to say how much i adored this movie. its touching, well done, funny and even though it ends with Mark's death you know that he had a life worth living and he was content as was everyone he touched. You can't help but smile when its over. John Hawkes gives an amazing performance. Easily one of the best I've seen in any film. I went into this unaware of the article which i ended up reading later (thanks Google!) and reading more about his life. Everything about this movie is so well done.

The Sessions is rated R.


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