The Sessions | Indy Week

The Sessions

Rated R 98 min. 2012

John Hawkes plays Mark O'Brien, a California man who is completely immobilized below the neck by polio—a condition that necessitates spending most of his life inside an iron lung. The topic of this unsurprising film is sex surrogates and the disabled. A worthy issue, to be sure, but not one that generates a lot of drama in this telling. There's a lot of smiling through tears, but Hawkes doles out small measures of the character's bitterness and self-pity, too. But there's little conflict and no surprises. Most of the emotional dilemmas are expressed in exchanges between O'Brien and his priest (William H. Macy), who is supposed to be repressed and deprived himself. As the sex surrogate, Helen Hunt spends a fair share of the film fully nude; oddly, it doesn't seem to occur to the filmmakers that perhaps the one part of O'Brien's body that can move and change shape might be worthy of a camera appearance, too. But some things are just too dangerous to be shown, it seems.

Film Credits

Official Site:

Director: Ben Lewin

Writer: Ben Lewin

Producer: Judi Levine and Stephen Nemeth

Cast: John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, William H. Macy, Moon Bloodgood, Annika Marks, W. Earl Brown, Blake Lindsley, Adam Arkin and Ming Lo

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