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Showing 1-10 of 849 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 933 reviews
on May 28, 2013
Considering that I was the director of a small facility for severely disabled children/teens with one in an iron lung...I emotionally was pulled into this movie hook, line and sinker. Yes, I am a guy, and I have been a nurse for 30 years; needless to say, I wept at parts of this movie. First off, I feel confident saying...only a guy can know the depth of longing for someone else, or in this case...someone... to do the touching down "there." Paint on whatever cultural and religions excuse for sublimation you choose and I am still saying it is where men live. So...impossible not to relate. Who isn't looking to find someone to accept who we are and be non-judgemental about our "needs," but add the challenge of a body that is anything BUT the marketed version of beauty and desirability; and, yes, you do start entering the domain of the sublime. So the story is about... I am not sure there is a greater gift of caring about another human being. This movie goes way beyond a naked Ms. Hunt and the focus on the physical acts of sex to how we accept and love ourselves so we can accept and love others. Anyone, yes, talking to you ladies, and my daughter, who "hates" themselves because they do not look like the models in magazines needs to think a minute or two about this type of reality. Knocked my socks off.
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on April 17, 2016
Quite simply, one of the best movies I have ever seen, and I am 70. Maybe I'm daft in my dotage, but the deep feelings stirred by Mark in those around him, and those who watch him in the movie, are of the deepest kind of pure love and human emotion. I went back to watch a couple of scenes from the beginning that I wasn't paying attention to, and watched the entire movie again - and I may watch it again tomorrow. Helen Hunt, William H. Macy, and John Hawkes were beyond superb, as were all of the cast. I'm not sure who cast the movie, but they deserve an Oscar for it.
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on September 19, 2016
Really good movie. Yes, Helen Hunt does a lot of nude scenes, but, if you can get over your sophomoric urges, John Hawkes does a wonderful job portraying a severely handicapped man who has adapted to his condition and demonstrates a whimsical, humorous outlook on life (no curmudgeonly, angry, dismissive stereotype here), and we see how his caregivers deal with his moods and physical needs on a daily basis. And the physical needs issue gets explored further as we discover that he is a man of faith and spends time at his local church (he's Catholic, but it is a secondary attribute in this story). We get introduced to the cool, hip Priest (William H. Macy) and through his interactions with the priest, we discover that the issue of sex is becoming a central issue for Hawkes' character. After some introductory scenes with his psychologist, he gets introduced to Helen Hunt's character who is a sex surrogate. The remainder of the movie deals with the sometimes awkward, sometimes humorous and always touching relationship that develops between John Hawkes and Helen Hunt. It is a well written, poignant and intelligent story of a lonely man's quest for normalcy and the people in his life who help him to lead a dignified, full, albeit brief, life.
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on May 21, 2016
Every human being has the need to experience these emotions and relationships regardless of their situation in life. That this is a biographical based film is of particular interest to me and I wish I had known Mr.O'Brien as he appears to have been a remarkable man. Mr. Hawkes delivers a wonderful performance acting almost exclusively with his face. Ms. Hunt does not disappoint. Mr. Macy is also excellent in his roll and is my kind of priest. It wasn't what I expected but I am not sure what I was expecting. I just know that I came away feeling like I had a different perspective on sexuality than I did before. The body may be the only limitation one has whereas the mind and heart are all in.
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on September 8, 2016
I'm a big fan of Helen Hunt to start with and intrigued with the subject matter. Bill Macy always has interesting characters as well, so this was an easy sell to me. I probably wouldn't let kids view this, though, unless parents want to answer a LOT of questions- high school seniors, maybe! Seriously, this film was well done; it sucks you into the story lines and immerses you into the story. As expected, the acting was amazing and fluid; even the supporting players had their moments. What was NOT expected is some of the twists in the story! I would recommend this movie for those interested in psychology, sex therapy, physiology or just want a tearjerker!. Bring an open mind, though- there is some nudity, but tastefully done and relevant to the story line. In short, a wonderful movie for what it is, and more than I expected.
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on February 28, 2013
Mark O'Brien was a normal healthy child until he was striken with polio at age 6 and doomed to a lifetime or relying on others for his basic needs and his life-saving iron lung. The story could end there but O'Brien's brilliant mind and joy of living overcame all obstacles. O'Brien is not exactly paralyzed, he explains. It's his muscles that don't work. He can't move his body below his nexk yet he becomes a writer. He has feeling throughout his body but can't touch a person or object. He has a wonderful mind trapped in a body that has abandoned him.

THE SESSIONS delves into one aspect of O'Brien's incredible life and the movie takes us on an incredible journey of life, love and hope. At age 38, O'Brien, with much guilty and anxiety, decides to hire a sex surrogate just to finally experience sex and physical closeness. He later wrote an article about this experience which became the basis of this book.

We can look at Mark O'Brien with pity or revulsion, as many people did, or we can see him as an inspiration and a joyous creation from God. O'Brien lived an exceptionally long life, despite his condition, and touched the hearts of many. His was a true story of overcoming or at least accepting the worst obstacles life could give anyone.

John Hawkes gives tremendous heart and depth to his portrayal of O'Brien. Hawkes went beyond the norm and refused doubles or special effects and turned his own body into the twisted posture of a polio-stricken O'Brien. Helen Hunt was nominated for an Academy Award for her role as Cheryl Cohen-Greene, the real-life sex surrogate that changed O'Brien's life for ever. Hunt shows her remarkable acting talents as the surrogate baring not only her heart and soul for the role but her body in very tasteful but somewhat explicit nude and sex scenes. Both Hawkes and Hunt became their roles and the connection between the actors and the real-life characters is clear.

Hawkes endearing speech pattern and smile and humor endears us the O'Brien he portrays. We just want to give Hawkes and O'Brien a loving hug and to relish his delightful humorous take on life and his tragic situation. O'Brien's moral dilema is strengthed by scenes with his parrish priest placed by William H. Macy. Macy's role is important as the Catholic priest helping O'Brien wrestle with his shame and embarassment along with his strong desire to experience sex for the first time. Macy's role could have been much more and somehow the priest seems one-dimensional as he listens to O'Brien's stories about the surrogate. Obviously, there is the connection between the two as far as not having sex, except the priest has made a decision to be celibate. O'Brien is trapped in a body that is not fully functional and any chance of a normal loving relationship with a woman seems impossible.

THE SESSIONS will break your heart and inspire you at the same time. There is a sweet sadness to the story that is peppered with hopelessness yet the story is full of hope and joy. It is a remarkable story that the actors and writers brought to the big screen. This fine independent film will keep you thinking and wondering. The priest says God will give O'Brien a "pass" on breaking the rules against pre-martital sex because of O'Brien's predicament. The moral dilemma is heartbreaking since there is no one to blame or judge here.

The writers treat the story with gentle humor. Hawkes's take on O'Brien is so lively and full of joy. There is an inspirational tone to the entire film that leaves the viewer curious about O'Brien's lifem along with a bittersweet sense of hope. It is a truly wonderful film.

The extras on the film are rather limited and involve Helen Hunt and John Hawkes getting into their roles. There is an interview with the real Cheryl Cohen-Greene who talks very briefly about her career as a sexy surrogate. She never mentiones O'Brien and what relationship that had and how their sessions affected her emotionally. The movie leads us to believe they had a spiritual and emotional connection in their few sessions. Cohen-Greene certainly had an immense effect on O'Brien. A brief feature on the real Mark O'Brien would have been an added plus. We're led to believe he found love the last few years of his life, but did he? THE SESSIONS touches the viewer so deeply that we only want more information on Mark O'Brien and his life. The movie opens with scenes of O'Brien "driving" his bed around Berkeley but there is no mention if this is actual footage or not. Truly a remarkable film that leaves so many questions unanswered and has the viewer wanting more.
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on March 7, 2013
I love this movie! As usual, I wanted to make sure I saw all the movies up for Academy Awards. At the last minute (Saturday before the big day) I watched Argo (not so much) and The Sessions. OMG! I watched it once and then watched it again a couple of hours later. Then I watched it again on Sunday. Then again on Monday. I will probably watch it again today now that I am thinking about it while writing this review.

This is a sweet, lovely, funny, poignant, endearing story. It is a real story and is local and current for me. I lived in the Bay Area in the 1980's when Mark O'Brian (played convincingly by John Hawkes) was living in Berkeley and having this wonderful adventure. At the age of 38, this brave poet who lived motionless in an iron lung 20 hours per day with no ability to move any part of his body other than his head ... and, oh yeah, his penis ... decides that he wants to have sex. With the help of a sex therapist / surrogate played exquisitely by Helen Hunt, and his priest played hysterically by William Macy, Mark turns mission impossible into one of the most tender human connection ... and, yes ... even love stories. I laughed and I wept. Every time I watch this precious movie I see something new that cracks me up -- either in laughter or tears -- or both at the same time.
This movie is all about sex, but it is not titillating or kinky or an any way offensive. It is beautiful. Helen Hunt is the perfect Cheryl - lovely in every way. William Macy is the wild card -- what a perfect man to play the sincere yet sort of odd ball priest. I can't imagine what John Hawlkes had to do to be able to play Mark in such a believable way. Moon Bloodgood is magnificent as Vera, Mark's attendant during his poignant journey to "full-blooded male homo sapianhood".
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on March 9, 2013
The Sessions is based on the true story of a sex therapist/surrogate who assists a 40-something year old man paralyzed by polio to claim his own sexuality. I know, I know, it sounds creepy and pornographic, But I was intrigued by the trailer, which actually seemed to be tasteful. Well into the movie, I was surprised to notice that the sexual content and nudity [of which there is plenty] really became very secondary to the emotionally moving heart of the film. John Hawkes does an Oscar-worthy job as the paralyzed therapy-seeker who has the courage to look for love. I don't know how many actors could engage the audience with the limitations imposed upon him, but he pulls it off using only his facial expression and dialog. By the end of the movie, he has become someone all of us would like to know. Helen Hunt is terrific [and gutsy, at her age] as the therapist. Ordinarily she portrays characters with a bit of a tough exterior, but she also dug deep for this role, and is convincing as a compassionate therapist, willing to be vulnerable to help a fellow human being realize his greatest wish and full expression of his humanity. William Macy is his usual quirky and spot-on self as a priest/friend who sees Hawkes through his journey. In summary, this film earns its R rating and is not for anyone underage. But for those who are not offended by a bit of nudity and frank language, the reward is a moving and tender love story--love in the sense of human connection and helping one another through the journey of life, what others might call "agape".
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on April 13, 2013
This is one of the most amazing films I have ever watched. It touched me to the core and made me smile, laugh, and cry at the same time.

It is the true story of a young man, confined to an iron lung for the majority of his life, who wants to learn what love is all about before he dies. He's not just interested in the sexual side of love, he wants to know what it is to love and be loved by another person.

With the help of his priest, personal attendants, a sex therapist (surrogate), and an amazing young lady that saw far more to him than his disability, he is able to experience true love in all its physical and emotional wonder and glory.

I am not usually comfortable with videos that contain graphic sex scenes and this one has some of the most graphic scenes I have ever watched. Amazingly, I didn't feel any of the usual discomfort I feel when seeing sex scenes that do absolutely nothing to further the plot. Those scenes make me feel cheap--like a voyeur.

The sex scenes in this film were so tender and beautiful that they made me rejoice in the ability of two people to share something so deep and personal. It portrays the act of ultimate giving of oneself to another.

I am so glad I came upon this video. My thanks to all of the reviewers who gave it a great rating so that I felt viewing it would be worth the risk of it being just another sex-saturated film.
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on September 12, 2014
This is the most touching story. I was moved by the tender tale of a true life telling of a subject most people have never thought of. The acting was top notched. My neighbor who had recommended the movie thought that the main character had been dealt a bad hand. I disagree however. Anyone who had touched so many lives and was loved by 3 women who were there at his funeral was indeed a very lucky person. How many of us will die unnoticed by those around us. You have no guarantees in life. Bad things happen to good people. What matters is how you proceed from there.
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