Created on Wednesday, 23 January 2013 00:00
Written by Samantha See
Based on journalist Mark O'Brien's true story "The Surrogate", "The Sessions" is a surprisingly poignant yet heartwarming film.
John Hawkes (Winter's Bone) plays 38-year-old journalist O'Brien, who is eager to lose his virginity though his Catholic guilt requires him to elicit permission from his priest (William H. Macy). The problem is, he is hardly desirable having to stay in a manmade iron lung, which helps the polio-stricken him survive – he can stay no more than four hours out of it. His crush on his caregiver doesn't work out and he turns to an extremely patient sex surrogate Cheryl (Helen Hunt) instead.
We loved Hawkes' acting here, both confident yet vulnerable at the same time. The chemistry between the two leads are surprisingly convincing, and comic relief in the form of a cool longhaired priest helped as well. Sex is treated as it is in its physical form rather than romanticized and the leads discuss it as a form of primal need and satisfaction that even the disabled would crave and could fulfill.
In all, we would say, look beyond the superficial sex and you will see a tender love story about overcoming emotional and physical barriers with the right touch on the sometimes taboo topics of disability as well as sex.