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148 of 153 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Bold And Entertaining Movie Featuring Two Of The Year's Best Performances
After making a splash at this year's Sundance film festival, the provocatively themed "The Sessions" has created a fair amount of buzz both for its subject matter and for its performances. Based on the true story of Mark O'Brien, the movie tackles a topic that might make some uncomfortable--sex, specifically sex and the disabled. In an era where any amount of violence...
Published 24 months ago by K. Harris

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too slow
I found the relationship between the main characters (the therapist and the client) not believable as she was not professional and broke pretty much every rule of her profession. John Hawkes, the star, was outstanding and so was the costar who plays his priest and friend. This movie runs very very slow. The sex scenes are not objectionable or actually very sexual.
Published 15 months ago by Liz Ahl


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148 of 153 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Bold And Entertaining Movie Featuring Two Of The Year's Best Performances, December 8, 2012
This review is from: The Sessions (DVD)
After making a splash at this year's Sundance film festival, the provocatively themed "The Sessions" has created a fair amount of buzz both for its subject matter and for its performances. Based on the true story of Mark O'Brien, the movie tackles a topic that might make some uncomfortable--sex, specifically sex and the disabled. In an era where any amount of violence and gore is perfectly acceptable, I still don't understand why it is verboten for American movies to deal with sexual issues in a frank and adult manner. So I appreciate that writer/director Ben Lewin made "The Sessions" with a matter-of-fact boldness uncommon in today's movies. The movie is frank, explicit, and both emotionally and physically revealing. Instead of feeling unnecessarily prurient, however, the movie is surprisingly life affirming. It is sensitive about its topic, but also quite humorous. I was afraid the film might be a little too clinical, depressing or dispassionate but it is, instead, eminently relatable and entertaining.

O'Brien, a paralyzed man who spent his nights in an iron lung, has tried to live the best life that he can. He's a professional writer, and has attempted to get as much normalcy out of his days as possible. At 36, though, he is thinking more and more about relationships, love, and sex. He wants to experience human intimacy in all of its forms. After exposing himself emotionally, he decides to seek out a more straightforward answer to losing his virginity. With the advice of his priest (William Macy) and the assistance of his aide (Moon Bloodgood), he contacts a sex surrogate to assist. The remainder of the movie details these sessions in much explicitness. They have surprising candor, insight and impact. The movie does not ask you to feel sorry for O'Brien (a great decision) because of his disability, but to experience this journey with him as a man. In other hands, "The Sessions" might have had an entirely different tone. But Lewin keeps things lively, grounded and believable.

The ever-impressive John Hawkes is a revelation as O'Brien. This great character actor is really coming into his own, and this is easily his most realized starring performance. From years as a side kick (Deadwood), he has startled with a number of creepier roles (Oscar nominated for Winter's Bone). His performance here ranks with the very best of the year, though. Obviously, the role is reliant on minimal movement but Hawkes does everything he needs just through facial expressions, dialogue, and voice over. He is matched by Helen Hunt in what I think is her best role as well. Hunt doesn't shy away from anything in this piece. Her choices are fearless and bold. This is a pairing that you won't soon forget. When these two are together, "The Sessions" rivals anything else on screen this year. It's not a perfect film, however, some of the supporting roles or side choices are a bit less developed. But overall, this is a joyful expression of life. While the movie is infused with an underlying sadness, this is not a depressing experience but a hopeful one. A nice character piece for adult audiences. KGHarris, 12/12.
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109 of 116 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "But the truth is, we're just human.", December 25, 2012
By 
This review is from: The Sessions (DVD)
The Sessions is an extraordinary little indie film based on an even more extraordinary true story. In 1988, Mark O'Brien, a thirty-eight year old poet, journalist and advocate for the disabled living in Berkeley, California, decided to lose his virginity. This may not sound very extraordinary unless you know that O'Brien, severely afflicted by polio as a child, had spent most of his life in an iron lung and was unable to move any part of his body below the neck.

O'Brien's decision was prompted as a result of research he was doing for an article on the sex lives of disabled people. After interviewing a number of disabled people, and seeing how many of them were in fact enjoying an active and rewarding sex life in spite of their disabilities, O'Brien began to consider his own sex life, or rather, his complete lack of one, and how he might go about changing that. The issue was further complicated for O'Brien by the fact that he was a devout Catholic and what he was contemplating - sex outside of marriage - was a moral issue as well as a physical one. So in addition to consulting a sex therapist for help with his physical challenges, he also consulted with his local priest for what was for him a moral challenge as well.

It is important to understand the exact nature of O'Brien's situation. He was not paralyzed, at least not neurologically. Polio afflicts the muscles, leaving them weak and atrophied, but not the nerves, and so although he couldn't move, O'Brien could still feel and his 'equipment' still worked, albeit in moments that were more embarrassing than anything that could be considered pleasurable, given that the only people ever touching him or seeing him naked were doctors, nurses and attendants. And he could survive outside of the iron lung for a few hours at a time, though he had to be kept on a gurney which let him lie prone. But this made it possible for him to do things like attend university where he ultimately earned his degrees in English and journalism (and later to have his sessions with the sex therapist). Ultimately though he always had to be put back into the iron lung as his own lungs were only strong enough to function on their own for those few hours.

The story of O'Brien's quest for non-virginity is brought vividly to life in first-class performances carried out by a marvelous cast. John Hawkes (best known for his Oscar-nominated supporting performance in 2010's Winter's Bone) does an outstanding job as Mark O'Brien, rising to the challenge not only of portraying a man solely through the use of his head and face but also finding O'Brien's voice, bringing out his combination of intelligence and humor along with his anxieties and vulnerabilities, both physical and emotional. Helen Hunt (best known for her Oscar-winning performance in 1997's As Good As It Gets) is equally outstanding as Cheryl Cohen Greene, the sex therapist who works with O'Brien to help him achieve his goal of becoming a fully realized sexual person, bringing out Greene's own struggle between her commitment to always maintaining a professional distance with her clients and her inability to not be moved by O'Brien's mix of raw vulnerability and nervous courage. And his ability to find humor in spite of his situation. "I have to believe in God," O'Brien says at one point. "I would find it absolutely intolerable not to be able to blame someone for all this."

The supporting cast is also quite excellent. William H. Macy does a nice turn as Father Brendan, the priest O'Brien turns to for guidance with his dilemma. In what could easily have been a mere comic cliché role, Macy instead delivers a nuanced performance as a man who seriously weighs the church's position against the sheer humanity of the situation he's been presented with and then goes with his basic humanity, telling O'Brien "I have a feeling that God is going to give you a free pass on this one. Go for it." Macy does bring a gentle humor to the situation, showing Brendan's awkward discomfort at advising someone with such an unusual problem, but gives it a solid grounding by showing Brendan's commitment to giving the best spiritual guidance he can, even if he does feel completely out of his depth. Moon Bloodgood delivers a quietly funny performance as Vera, the supportive attendant who accompanies O'Brien on his interviews for his article and to his sessions with Greene, doing her best to be stoically professional even as her highly expressive face reveals her inner reactions to the things she sees and hears in the course of her duties. And Jennifer Kumiyama is quite engaging as Carmen, a wheelchair-bound woman with Arthrogryposis who's cheerfully chatty about her sex life when O'Brien interviews her for his article and who ends up letting O'Brien and Greene use her apartment for their initial sessions.

As both director and screenwriter, Ben Lewin brings a special insight and sensitivity to the film, being someone who was afflicted with polio himself as a child and who must use arm braces to move about. In addition to drawing on his own experiences while writing the screenplay, Lewin worked closely with Susan Fernback, O'Brien's partner of several years, and with Greene, wanting the script to be as faithful to O'Brien the man as humanly possible. The music score by Marco Beltrami is appropriately subtle, present in the background and discretely adding to the tone or feel of a scene but never threatening to distract from or overwhelm what's happening on the screen. In some movies the director depends on the score to tell you what you're supposed to be feeling, but The Sessions has no such need.

But it's Hawkes and Hunt who carry the heart of the movie and they do it marvelously well. Hawkes' challenge is first to portray O'Brien's extreme limitations and vulnerability, and then, having done that, to get you to see beyond those things to the man O'Brien really was. Not without some cost though. One of the things Hawkes did was to lie on a soccer ball-sized foam rubber sphere during filming to simulate O'Brien's curvature of the spine. However effective the results were visually, the constant pressure against Hawkes' spine resulted in him developing back problems. Hunt's challenge was similar in that her role required her to spend a lot of her screen time naked, playing a woman who was both comfortable and professional at being naked and in a sexual situation with her clients, and then to slowly reveal Greene's growing discomfort with the fact that in spite of her professionalism she cannot be completely dispassionate about O'Brien, that there is something about him that is connecting with her and making her feel for him. It's a tribute to the chemistry that develops between these two fine actors that the sexual aspect of their situation ultimately becomes secondary to the emotional and human connection that's being made.

In 1997, O'Brien was the subject of a short film by Jessica Yu, Breathing Lessons: The Life and Work of Mark O'Brien, which went on to win the Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject. In it, he makes the statement "The two mythologies about disabled people break down to: one, we can't do anything, or two, we can do everything. But the truth is, we're just human." That, more than anything else, sums up what The Sessions is all about.

Highly, highly recommended.
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58 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Burdensome Virginity, December 14, 2012
This review is from: The Sessions (DVD)
How do you lose your virginity if you have been confined to an iron lung most of your life? A couple of years ago, I had some lively discussions on this topic with one of my JayFlix friends, a health-care professional who was attending a young quadriplegic. Now this film-festival favorite addresses the question, only this man isn't paralyzed with no physical sensations, instead he is a polio survivor confined to an iron lung since childhood. Furthermore, he is a witty, well-educated and frustrated adult.

Based on the real-life story of Mark O'Brien (1949-1999), a Berkeley poet and journalist, he was the first severely disabled student to graduate from college, earning a bachelor's degree in 1982, and acceptance to a post graduate program. His inspiring story has been told once before in a documentary film, "Breathing Lessons," directed by Jessica Yu. It won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short in 1997. This version is written and directed by the acclaimed Ben Lewin, himself a polio survivor who requires crutches.

We watch:
* John Hawkes ("Contagion") is brilliant as Mark O'Brien, who wryly tells his priest he wants to experience sex before his "Use-By date" expires. Hawkes is an amazing chameleon who transforms himself from film to film, each time I am stunned to discover who I have just watched. There is some well-deserved Oscar buzz about this film.
* Helen Hunt ("As Good as it Gets") is Cheryl Cohen Greene, a professional therapist hired to provide basic instruction in human sexuality. Her therapy is bluntly anatomical and unembarrassed while at the same time, extremely sensitive and insightful. His responses are usually humorous and disarming. Hunt is fearless but convincing, and is beautifully naked a lot of the time.
* William H. Macy ("The Lincoln Lawyer") is Father Brendon, our hero's priest, who fears he might have unleashed some major sinning by counseling his parishioner to "Go for it!" This priest spent his childhood on a farm, so his observations are very forthright and practical.

This film proves two points:

1) Our biggest sex organ is between our ears;
2) One of the most seductive things about another person may be an ability to make us laugh. O'Brien, when asked if he is religious, replies, "Of course I am! I've gotta have someone to blame!"

There are many happy spots in this inspiring piece and as we exited the theater, we were subdued but satisfied...smile....I'll be happy when Amazon notifies me of the DVD release.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "The Sessions" will move you to tears (both joy and sorrow), December 3, 2012
This review is from: The Sessions (DVD)
Ever since "The Sessions" made its smash debut at the Sundance Film Festival in early 2012, this movie has gotten the reputation of "that movie with a lot of Helen Hunt nudity in it", and while it is true there are a number of nude scenes in the movie, I hope you will agree that, after you will hopefully have seen this film, this movie surely is about a lot more than that.

"The Sessions" (2012 release; 95 min.) brings the (real life) story of Mark O'Brien (played by John Hawkes), a Bay-area poet who lives in an iron lung as a result of polio when he was a little kid. In his late 30s, Mark wonders what if would be like "to be with a woman in the biblical sense", as he confides to his priest (played by William H. Macy). With the priest's blessing, Mark eventually gets in contact with a sex therapist, who in turn gets him in contact with Cheryl (played by Helen Hunt), a sex surrogate. Over the course of several sessions (hence the fiml's title), Cheryl gives "body awareness" tips and experiences. I'm not going to spoil your viewing experience by disclosing how it all plays out, but I will say that the last half hour of the movie is bittersweet and very touching, and I welled up more than once.

Several comments: first and foremost, John Hawke's performance will simply blow you away. I cannot imagine that he will not get an Oscar nomination for this. Of course, Helen Hunt's performance surely is Oscar-worthy as well, and not only because of the daring and frequent (but never exploitive) nudity. The immediate subject matter of the movie (sex for the disabled) is handled with care and grace. The buzz for this movie has been steadily growing in recent months, and I must say I was quite surprised how poorly attended the screening was which I attended a few weekends ago here in Cincinnati. Maybe it was just a coincidence. I sure hope so, as I very much enjoyed this movie from start to finish. "The Sessions" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars (BLU RAY UPDATE) John Hawkes' performance may be the best of 2012, December 14, 2012
By 
This review is from: The Sessions (DVD)
This is an autobiographical story of poet Mark O'Brien who was stricken by polio and spent much of his life in an iron lung. In 1988 at the age of 38 he decides he wants to lose his virginity. A sure bet for an Oscar nomination, John Hawkes plays O'Brien. Hawkes' already thin frame is reduced even more to where his muscle tone approaches that of a polio victim. His acting is mostly confined to his vocal inflections and facial expressions.

Before going much further, let's be clear about one thing. This isn't a dower, conventional weepy film. If anything it's uplifting. O'Brien is a funny guy and some of the scenes between him and his understanding priest (William H. Macy) are some of the best in the film. Once O'Brien gets the Church's go ahead, he hires a sex surrogate (excellent Helen Hunt) to guide him through his ultimate goal. While there is nothing overly salacious in the scenes involving O'Brien and Cheryl (Hunt), they are pretty graphic. Ms. Hunt in particular, leaves little to the imagination.

Perhaps under-appreciated in the film is O'Brien's caretakers. One, played by Moon Bloodgood, I found particularly interesting. I would have liked to have seen her role a bit meatier. Perhaps it is no surprise, that in spite of O'Brien's physical limitations, he's quite the hit with the ladies, especially those closest to him. Director and writer Ben Lewin does a nice balancing act, given the sexual and religious overtones. The movie is well photographed giving a strong sense of reality of Berkeley, California in the late 1980's. Excellent film.

BLU RAY UPDATE: The Blu ray transfer comes with a 1080p resolution and maintains the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Even for those used to seeing quality in Blu ray discs will appreciate the perfection of this issue. It is absolutely gorgeous in terms color, clarity and sharpness. I saw nothing in terms of image anomalies. This is a dialog centered film so the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 audio track doesn't provide much in the way of surrounds other than ambient sounds. The dialog is clear and audible throughout the film. Here is a list of extras:
*Deleted Scenes (HD, 3:34)
*Writer/Director Ben Lewin Finds Inspiration (HD, 4:01)
*John Hawkes Becomes Mark O'Brien (HD, 4:26)
*Helen Hunt as the Sex Surrogate (HD, 4:13)
*A Session with the Cast (HD, 3:50)
*The Women Who Loved Mark O'Brien (HD, 4:24)
*Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:26)
*Sneak Peek (HD, 11:04)
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All who want love, January 5, 2013
By 
Jean E. Pouliot (Newburyport, MA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Sessions (DVD)
Set in 1988, "The Sessions" is an extraodinary movie based on the true-life experiences of Mark O'Brien, a then-38-year-old man paralyzed by polio, who seeks to experience physical love for the first time. John Hawke plays O'Brien, a devoutly Catholic man who nevertheless seeks the physical intimacy that disease robbed from him. Helen Hunt is a sex therapist who has 6 sessions to unlock O'Brien's fettered sexuality. And Bill Macy plays the parish priest who befriends O'Brien and gives him unoffical license to fulfill his humanity.

The film deals with the web of emotions that is unleashed by the encounters. O'Brien is gratified by the physical release he experiences, but is desperate for the human love and emotional intimacy that is normally concommitant to a sexual encouter. Helen Hunt is torn by her deep feelings for O'Brien, her professionalism and her duty to her family. And Macy struggles to leaven his role as O'Brien's priest with his role as O'Brien's friend and confidante.

There is an awful lot of nudity and frank sexuality in the film. Kudos to Helen Hunt for baring all at age 49. A great ensemble cast in a story that will make you uncomfortable while having you root for a profoundly disabled man to find the love that all of us dream of.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This film is soooo good., January 10, 2013
By 
Robert of Niagara "Robert" (Niagara Falls, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Sessions (DVD)
Other reviewers have expressed their views so well about this film. I support them and I will add a few words.

This film has so much to say about human sexuality for the disabled and those people that come in and out of their lives.... etc.
All 3 leads and supporting cast have done an excellent job with what must have been a very challenging script.
This film has heart where so many films fail.
If you don't have an open mind about the realities of the human condition than this film won't be for you.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Uplifting story of severely disabled polio victim aided by sexual surrogate, January 26, 2013
By 
Turfseer (New York, N.Y.) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Sessions (DVD)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***

How do you make a dramatic movie about a guy who's in an iron lung most of the day? Well, they manage to pull it off in the true life story, 'The Sessions'. John Hawkes, known for a couple of psycho roles in 'Winter Bones' and 'Martha Macy May Marlene', magnificently transforms himself into the severely handicapped Mark O'Brien, disabled since childhood with polio and forced to live in an iron lung, except for about four hours per day. O'Brien is not technically paralyzed but his muscles are useless, and he can only move his lips and neck. He gets out of the house on a gurney, pushed by attendants working on day and night shifts.

'The Sessions' manages not to be maudlin or heavy handed due to the remarkable personality of O'Brien. In spite of the crushing limitations of his life, O'Brien manages to be relatively optimistic. He writes poetry and communicates with others, not expressing self-pity, but with a wry sense of humor. His confidante is Father Brendan, a liberal priest, winningly played by William H. Macy. When O'Brien informs Father Brendan that he seeks to lose his virginity by employing a sex surrogate, the good Father notes that having sex outside of marriage is a sin. But given O'Brien's situation, Father Brendan wisely adds that in this case, he believes that God can make an "exception".

The bulk of 'The Sessions' revolves around O'Brien's session with sex surrogate, Cheryl Cohen-Greene (professionally played by Helen Hunt). At first, O'Brien is deathly afraid of the encounters with Cohen-Greene, but she soon gets him to relax and he's able to have intercourse with her. Initially, they agree on eight sessions but cut things off after six, as Cohen-Greene finds that O'Brien is falling in love with her and her emotions are getting in the way too.

There are other characters that drift in and out of O'Brien's life, including Amanda, a volunteer with the disabled, who befriends O'Brien, but eventually has to move away, due to guilt feelings about not wanting to have an intimate relationship with him. One of O'Brien's attendants, Vera, also adds a great deal of texture to O'Brien's moving journey. Eventually, a woman, Susan, becomes O'Brien's partner for the rest of the five years of his life and provides him with meaningful companionship.

One scene that doesn't completely ring true is Cohen-Greene's husband, Josh, becoming jealous over a letter O'Brien sends her. On the plus side, the film is also not without a moment of high drama when there's a power failure and O'Brien is trapped in a non-functioning iron lung without anyone there to help him.

The Session's director, Ben Lewin, a polio survivor himself, lends his expertise on the subject to the production. One critic felt that the film needed to be truer to the real-life O'Brien's writings.

Nonetheless, due to its fine performances, 'The Sessions' appears to rise above standard TV movie fare. It's a touching story about a man whose spirit soared, despite crippling physical limitations.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Bold And Entertaining Movie Featuring Two Of The Year's Best Performances, April 17, 2013
This review is from: The Sessions (Amazon Instant Video)
After making a splash at this year's Sundance film festival, the provocatively themed "The Sessions" has created a fair amount of buzz both for its subject matter and for its performances. Based on the true story of Mark O'Brien, the movie tackles a topic that might make some uncomfortable--sex, specifically sex and the disabled. In an era where any amount of violence and gore is perfectly acceptable, I still don't understand why it is verboten for American movies to deal with sexual issues in a frank and adult manner. So I appreciate that writer/director Ben Lewin made "The Sessions" with a matter-of-fact boldness uncommon in today's movies. The movie is frank, explicit, and both emotionally and physically revealing. Instead of feeling unnecessarily prurient, however, the movie is surprisingly life affirming. It is sensitive about its topic, but also quite humorous. I was afraid the film might be a little too clinical, depressing or dispassionate but it is, instead, eminently relatable and entertaining.

O'Brien, a paralyzed man who spent his nights in an iron lung, has tried to live the best life that he can. He's a professional writer, and has attempted to get as much normalcy out of his days as possible. At 36, though, he is thinking more and more about relationships, love, and sex. He wants to experience human intimacy in all of its forms. After exposing himself emotionally, he decides to seek out a more straightforward answer to losing his virginity. With the advice of his priest (William Macy) and the assistance of his aide (Moon Bloodgood), he contacts a sex surrogate to assist. The remainder of the movie details these sessions in much explicitness. They have surprising candor, insight and impact. The movie does not ask you to feel sorry for O'Brien (a great decision) because of his disability, but to experience this journey with him as a man. In other hands, "The Sessions" might have had an entirely different tone. But Lewin keeps things lively, grounded and believable.

The ever-impressive John Hawkes is a revelation as O'Brien. This great character actor is really coming into his own, and this is easily his most realized starring performance. From years as a side kick (Deadwood), he has startled with a number of creepier roles (Oscar nominated for Winter's Bone). His performance here ranks with the very best of the year, though. Obviously, the role is reliant on minimal movement but Hawkes does everything he needs just through facial expressions, dialogue, and voice over. He is matched by Helen Hunt in what I think is her best role as well. Hunt doesn't shy away from anything in this piece. Her choices are fearless and bold. This is a pairing that you won't soon forget. When these two are together, "The Sessions" rivals anything else on screen this year. It's not a perfect film, however, some of the supporting roles or side choices are a bit less developed. But overall, this is a joyful expression of life. While the movie is infused with an underlying sadness, this is not a depressing experience but a hopeful one. A nice character piece for adult audiences. KGHarris, 12/12.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars `Love Poem to No One in Particular', February 7, 2013
By 
This review is from: The Sessions (DVD)
THE SESSIONS is clearly one of the finest films of the year, if not the young decade. It is a true story based on the life of Mark O'Brien (July 31, 1949 - July 4, 1999), a journalist, poet and advocate for the disabled. Before this film he was the subject of `Breathing Lessons: The Life and Work of Mark O'Brien', which won an Academy Award in 1997. The SESSIONS is based on his essay, "On Seeing a Sex Surrogate", which appeared in the Sun magazine in 1990.

Without ever dipping into self pity Mark O'Brien is played by John Hawkes (in one of the finest performers by an actor is a long time) as a bright, high spirited young man confined to an iron lung at night and completely paralyzed, meaning that his writing and his telephone dialing must be accomplished with the use of a mouth-held wand. Despite his rather hopeless condition Mark concentrates on positive things: he is a 38 year old frustrated virgin who seeks advice from his priest (William H. Macy is a multifaceted, sensitive role) as well as a therapist (Blake Lindsley) who recommend Mark engage a professional sex surrogate/typical soccer mom with a house, a mortgage and a philosopher husband (Adam Arkin) named Cheryl Cohen-Greene (Helen Hunt in an underplayed, beautifully acted role). With the assistance of his changing caregivers - Amanda (Annika Marks), and Vera (Moon Bloodgood) - and his new friend, the disabled Arthrogryposis victim Carmen (Jennifer Kumiyama) and his priest's encouragement and sanction, he begins therapy with Cheryl. Though the therapy is restricted to six sessions, during these delicately and often warmly humorous sessions Mark discovers his body and is able to achieve penetration. The therapy is a success but in the process Cheryl discovers a soft spot in her heart for Mark and knows when to call the boundaries. But Cheryl has introduced Mark to the pleasures of love and the ever-open Mark learns that there are three women who truly love him - Cheryl, Amanda, and a new acquaintance Susan (Robin Weigert). Mark has succeeded on an extraordinary personal journey to discover the wondrous pleasures that make life worth living.

The ensemble cast is flawless, with excellent cameos by Rhea Perlman, Rusty Schwimmer, Ming Lo among others. The delicately beautiful musical score is by Marco Beltrami. Much of the success of this extraordinary film is due to the sensitive writing and directing by Ben Lewin. It is a must-own film. Grady Harp, February 13
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