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The Sessions (2012)

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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.



(written for the screen by), (article)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 18 wins & 63 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Mikvah Lady
Dr. Laura White
Jennifer Kumiyama ...


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

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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 USA:

$113,467, 21 October 2012, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$6,002,451, 14 March 2013

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$9,138,338, 14 March 2013
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


In real life, Cheryl Cohen Greene was 42 when she met Mark O'Brien. Helen Hunt was 48 when she made the film. See more »


Rhea Perlman's name is spelled Pearlman in the end credits. See more »


[first lines]
Bill Hillman - 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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Referenced in Revealed: Oscar Hopefuls (2013) See more »


CMI3317 Shearing Lounge
Written and performed by Steven Michael Yeager
Published by Music Expressions
Courtesy of Crucial Music Corporation
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User Reviews

A Beautiful and Inspiring Story
10 January 2013 | by See all my reviews

It's a beautiful and inspiring story. John Hawkes is brilliant in his portrayal of polio-afflicted quadriplegic man, who's quite intellectual and charming. With just his facial expressions and dialogues, Hawkes charms you throughout the movie. Helen Hunt is flawless, as always, and pretty comfortably gets into the shoes of a sex surrogate. William H. Macy and Moon Bloodgood are amazing as the supporting characters; they have some of the best dialogues in the movie.

Mark O'Brien's story is intriguing, inspiring and quite moving. His intention to lose his virginity through a sex surrogate leads him to experience love, both physically and emotionally. Mark O'Brien's story proves that physicality doesn't play such a big role when it comes to affecting and attracting people, in the long run; intellect and charm are greater factors. He affects and attracts the lives of three beautiful women.

The nudity and sex in the movie is not vulgar or erotic; it's more on the emotional and intimate side.

Some of the memorable dialogues from the movie include: 1> "I understand that even among non-believers, the most common expression of sexual ecstasy is 'oh God'". 2> Vera: "Today, they're working on simultaneous orgasm." --- Clerk: "What's that?"

As Betsy Sharkey from Los Angeles Times aptly says, "In a country that embraces cinematic violence with such ease but blushingly prefers to keep sex in the shadows or under the sheets, the grown-up approach of 'The Sessions' is rare."

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