The Sessions (2012)

The Sessions
Director: Ben Lewin
Writer: Ben Lewin
Based on: Mark O’Brien‘s life
Cast: John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, William H. Macy, Moon Bloodgood, Annika Marks, Adam Arkin

Mark (John Hawkes) got polio when he was a child and has been paralyzed ever since. Now he’s in his thirties and spends most of his time in an iron lung and helped by personal assistants. Recently a wish has been  growing in Mark: he wants to lose his virginity. After talking it over with his priest, Father Brendan (William H. Macy), Mark enlists the help of a sex surrogate, a kind of sex therapist – Cheryl (Helen Hunt).

The Sessions is a sweet and fun film with a really good cast. The story is interesting and gives you a glimpse at an extraordinary life. It’s really touching.


The cast really is amazing in this film. John Hawkes is excellent. (He always is.) Helen Hunt really makes the role work – which is not easy. And with more priests with the sense of humor and humanity William H. Macy gives his character, maybe the catholic church wasn’t so entirely doomed to fail. And Moon Bloodgood was hilarious in a very dry way.

But admittedly, as much as I enjoyed John Hawkes perfect performance, I kept wondering why they wouldn’t cast somebody who was actually paralyzed. Handicapped roles are hard to come by as is, and it would be actually great if they weren’t filled by able-bodied actors.


If there is one thing that I can fault the movie with it’s that it tries a little too hard to be uplifting and pleasing and shies away from the unpleasant parts of the story. It wouldn’t have hurt if it had an edge or two.

Nevertheless, the film is entertaining and told with a nice sense of humor. It’s well-paced and keeps you engaged. And that makes for a good evening of entertainment.


Summarising: nice watch.

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