The Sessions is a drama film starring John Hawkes, Helen Hunt and William H. Macy. This film is based on the autobiography written by the journalist and poet, Mark O’Brien. The Sessions revolves around the story of a man who is sadly confined to an iron lung. Despite his current state he is already 38 years of age and dreams of losing his virginity after all these years. He seeks the help of his therapists and the kind guidance of his priest to help make his dream become a reality. The Sessions gained awards when it was entered at the Sundance Film Festival and it’s about to be released in theatres. Here’s why The Sessions is a must see film this October:
“The Sessions: A Film That Emits Tenderness, Humor and Unlikely Subjects
A film of tenderness and humor married to the unlikeliest of subjects, “The Sessions” presents the story of poet and polio survivor Mark O’Brien, who left behind an oeuvre of life-affirming writing despite his condition. But this is no mere biopic; Jessica Yu covered that quite nicely in her Oscar-winning nonfiction short “Breathing Lessons.” Instead, writer-director Ben Lewin’s film focuses on perhaps the most unusual chapter of O’Brien’s life, in which the iron lung-bound writer (here played by John Hawkes) arranges to lose his virginity with the help of a sex therapist (Helen Hunt). Careful treatment makes for an exceptional, expertly acted crowd-pleaser.
These are the facts, which the film shrewdly weaves throughout the story: O’Brien contracted polio at age 6, losing the use of pretty much everything below the waist and unable to live without artificial respiration for more than a few hours at a time. Rather than being sent to a nursing home, where life expectancy was 18 months, he was cared for by his parents, attended college on a self-propelled gurney and pursued a successful journalism career. Though his body was weakened, sensation remained, and after being assigned a series of interviews on sex and the disabled, he began to investigate the prospect of experiencing things for himself.
By avoiding the impulse to explain everything up front, Lewin foregrounds Mark’s sense of humor, allowing his personality to show through his potentially depressing circumstances. From the beginning, he exhibits a frisky interest in sexuality, which feels unusual not because of his disability, but because so few films have been willing to deal with the subject as a source of anything other than shame or stimulation.
For this reason, “The Sessions” is a refreshingly sex-positive picture, serving to break down many of the barriers Mark (and audiences, too) have toward good, clean intercourse. In Mark’s case, the issue is complicated by his Catholic upbringing. Mark spends much of the film in confession with his church’s priest (William H. Macy), who serves as a form of therapist, while earning laughs for his drinking, smoking and slightly flexible moral guidance.
This being 1988, before the ubiquity of online pornography, Mark’s impure thoughts begin with Amanda (Annika Marks), a beautiful caregiver whose contact and affection inspire hope for a more traditional physical relationship. But Amanda already has a boyfriend, and Mark, unschooled in any aspect of interpersonal connection, scares her away with a naive marriage proposal. Undeterred, he seeks the advice of an academic, who turns him on to the idea of a sex surrogate.”
You can read the rest of the article at Variety Reviews
The Sessions is going to be released in cinemas on October 19th 2012 and is directed by Ben Lewin
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