Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Review: "The Sessions"


Helen Hunt stands there naked – gloriously, completely and unconcernedly nude. She does not make any attempt to cover herself up or turn away, seeking the shadows. She’s just … there. All there.

This brazen, lingering show of flesh is notable because it is so different from our experiences with major stars like Hunt, who has won an Oscar and will surely be nominated for another for “The Sessions.” It’s a movie about sex that shows a whole lot of sex, but isn’t sex-obsessed.

This film grabs you in the heart rather than the loins.

Hunt behaves like this because her character, Cheryl, is a sex therapist hired to help a severely disabled man lose his virginity. Her body is her tool in trade, and she employs it without reservation or obfuscation. And the fact that she is so matter-of-fact about being naked soon renders it as no big deal for the audience, too.

Her client, Mark O’Brien, suffered from polio as a child and has lost all movement below the neck. He spends most of his time encased in an iron lung, and even when free of it must be wheeled around on a gurney by a helper.

This setup may sound like a crazy Hollywood concoction, but Mark and Cheryl and their story are real. A poet and journalist, O’Brien wrote about his experiences seeing a sex surrogate, and was the subject of a 1997 documentary short that won an Academy Award.

John Hawkes gives the performance of his career as Mark. Hawkes spends the entire movie horizontal, his chest heaved upwards in a rictus curve and his face tilted three-quarters upside down. But it’s the rich emotional center of this personification, not the physical tics and contortions, that make it certain he will join Hunt in being honored by the Academy.

Playing a man 15 years younger than himself, Hawkes employs a high voice that’s somewhere between impish and sprightly. Though he’s in his late 30s, Mark is troubled by his virginity and the way his sexual urges have gone unmet. “I need intercourse to prove I’m an adult,” he says.

Here’s another twist: Mark’s confidante is literally his father-confessor. Father Brendan (William H. Macy) is the parish priest at Mark’s church, who befriends him and offers advice – and tacit blessing – on his sexual adventure. The film approaches Mark’s Catholic faith with respect, but takes note of how it may have contributed to his inhibitions.

Soon enough Cheryl and Mark meet, and she begins tutoring him in the ways of physical intimacy. His first experiences are … rather abrupt, shall we say. Thus Mark proves that he is, in fact, quite normal when it comes to initial experiences at sex.

Things move on from there. Cheryl, who likes to keep a professional relationship with her clients, tells Mark up front that their time together will be limited to six sessions. The idea is to give her clients the tools and instruction they need to enjoy healthy sexual lives without them transferring an emotional attachment onto her.

But this time, Cheryl finds it is her who is developing feelings for this awkward, intelligent and funny man. We see a little glimpse of her home life (Adam Arkin plays the husband) and see why she would crave emotional intimacy in the same way Mark yearns for the physical side.

Writer/director Ben Lewin, who adapted the screenplay from O’Brien’s own article, has delivered a masterwork. "The Sessions" has a quirky but deep authenticity.

3.5 stars out of four

7 comments:

  1. At my first meet with Pinki she makes my night memorable, I book her through the use of internet. She is very beautiful elite independent escorts in kolkata She is very attractive girl from Mykolkataescorts.co.in. Cause she makes my wishes full, and gave me full pleasure. Thanks Mykolkataescorts.co.in for suggesting me that type of beautiful girl,

    ReplyDelete
  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am Ashok from Karnataka, I am living in Delhi cause I have here business shop, But due to my daily life I get tired. I was looking for fun with beautiful elite girls, as every man wants a wonderful girl on his bed, same I think too. My friend told me about hire Delhi Escorts girl from Delhiescortshub.in, I search on Google about that type of agency I found on Google Delhi Escorts Agency, I got the right place where I can sweetest the perfect girl for me. I book Sofia from elite Delhi escorts Hub, she is outstanding girl. When she was with me I feel like I am in heaven. I was happy when I was with her, she make my night perfect. She is very busty girl and she has a friendly nature. She attracts me within minutes. Love you Sofia.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Natalie is 20 year old, she is from Russia. I was really happy when I was with her, she is awesome independent Escorts in Kolkata, and she makes my night memorable.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hello friends I am Jay Das from Delhi in India. I was in Kolkata and needed Escorts Service I search on Google Then I found the Swachhata pal high profile independent escorts in Kolkata.She is the perfect Girl for person who wants a real open mind Independent Girl .I Really Happy that time when I was with her.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Fairly confronts, well methodized curvaceous body, distinguishable characteristics, divine look, sexy figures, dazing allure, X-ray face, lightening occurrence, flirty gestures are just some of the particular characteristics that can produce your current center aflutter. Once they feel your current insides, it could possibly post inspire cool off along your current spine. While in cargo area you can anticipate the crooks to display their true shades as well as know-how. Escorts in Chennai are recognized for their dispensation as well as know how to provide appropriate undercurrent with regard to foreplay. That they know how to arouse you as well as allow you to ready for just a warmed up erectile come across. You'll have the needing when they throw open their wrappings slowly and gradually.

    And then it’s about assembly minds as well as comfortable body. You'll be able to relieve all your dreams as well as go down upon most of these delicious babes having all your power as well as may well. While Chennai escort flaunt their assets as well as shape, you might have the mischief as well as forget about all your humanly restrictions. You will have essentially the most enervating expertise when you finally throw open their legs you need to utilize your current resources. Chennai companion providers supply a goddess within the woman's primal style having endless potential.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Unfulfilled physical want might be resulted into your anxiety regarding man or women regarding longer interval that's why many of us urge people to acquire the Mumbai Escorts Services.
    • As a way to gratify their particular physical want from the delight from the best expert girls owned by distinct prominent occupations, we offer escort services.
    • We with Mumbai escorts service proffer escort selecting services in which match to help anyone finances easily.
    • Anyone don’t ought to take the time anymore concerning the charges once we have extra a lot more amounts of classes in this escort gallery coming from presently there you will find normally the one who is able to suit to your finances in addition to to your choices.

    ReplyDelete