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The Sessions (2012)

R  |   |  Biography, Comedy, Drama  |  16 November 2012 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 34,903 users   Metascore: 79/100
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A man in an iron lung who wishes to lose his virginity contacts a professional sex surrogate with the help of his therapist and priest.



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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 15 wins & 57 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
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Dr. Laura White


At the age of 38, Mark O'Brien, a man who uses an iron lung, decides he no longer wishes to be a virgin. With the help of his therapist and his priest, he contacts Cheryl Cohen-Greene, a professional sex surrogate and a typical soccer mom with a house, a mortgage and a husband. Inspired by a true story, The Sessions, follows the fascinating relationship which evolves between Cheryl and Mark as she takes him on his journey to manhood. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexuality including graphic nudity and frank dialogue | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

16 November 2012 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Six Sessions  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$1,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$113,467 (USA) (19 October 2012)


$5,997,134 (USA) (8 March 2013)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The movie is based on the article "On Seeing a Sex Surrogate" by Mark O'Brien in the May 1990 issue of The Sun magazine. See more »


Rhea Perlman's name is misspelled (Pearlman) in the end credits. See more »


[first lines]
Himself - Reporter: Mark O'Brien has been going to UC Berkley since 1978. That's O'Brien in the motorized gurney heading for class last week. He had polio when he was six years old. The disease left his body crippled, but his mind remained sharp and alert. And since he wanted to be a writer, Mark O'Brien entered Cal to major in English and learn his trade. He wrote this poem for us about school here and about graduation.
Mark O'Brien: Graduation. Today I hear the crowd's applause. Receive the congratulations from ...
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User Reviews

Delicate Subject Makes For An Unforgettable Film
21 November 2012 | by (Boston, MA) – See all my reviews

"The Sessions" is a sensitive and poignant film with an outstanding performance by John Hawkes as poet Mark O'Brien a childhood victim of polio that left him paralyzed from the neck down and dependent on personal attendants and an iron lung that enables him to survive the nights without suffocating. In voice and facial expression he manages to perfectly capture the life of a severely disabled man who likes to push against boundaries and retains a sense of humor--he tells someone that he believes in God because he needs to blame someone. This role is quite a departure for Hawkes who gave terrific performances in films like "Winter's Bone" and "Martha Marcy May Marlene" where he was Jennifer Lawrence's loner brother and a deranged cult leader haunting Elizabeth Olsen. Helen Hunt is memorable as the sex surrogate to whom O'Brien turns to help him achieve his dream of sexual intimacy with a woman. A professional as well as a wife and mother she doesn't hesitate to take exception with the notion that she is some kind of prostitute and clearly she isn't. William H Macy is the local parish priest whom O'Brien a devout Catholic relies on for advice and encouragement. There's plenty of wry humor watching Macy trying to figure it all out as he knows he's in uncharted waters. Based on a magazine essay director/writer Ben Lewin handles this unusual subject matter with great sensitivity and intelligence. This isn't some Hallmark TV movie it's a mature, honest film that isn't going to insult your intelligence. Definitely worth seeing.

56 of 61 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Hawkes, not Hunt, deserved a nomination rocknthesubrbs
What has happened to Helen Hunts face? jack000-3
relationship between Cheryl and her husband?
How good was Helen Hunt????? psychonoir89
Helen hunts poem seandefeliz
The ending... new woman tshullin-300-167277
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