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The Sessions (2012)

R  |   |  Biography, Comedy, Drama  |  16 November 2012 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 35,175 users   Metascore: 79/100
Reviews: 123 user | 336 critic | 39 from Metacritic.com

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:
Mikvah Lady
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?


This the second movie in which Helen Hunt plays a married woman involved in an extramarital sexual relationship with a paralyzed man. The first one was The Waterdance (1992). See more »


Rhea Perlman's name is spelled 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 ...
See more »


Featured in 19th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards (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

Touching, Intimate and Adult Film
10 October 2012 | by See all my reviews

John Hawkes continues to amaze with his chameleon-like embodiment of unusual characters. This time, he plays Marc O'Brien, a 36 year-old polio victim who has spent his life horizontal in an iron lung. Based on a true story, O'Brien is a poet and a romantic, who has never had a sexual experience. After consulting his priest, ( William H. Macy perfectly embodies the Berkeley radical father), he contacts a therapist and hooks up with a sexual surrogate, Helen Hunt. Their "sessions" form the heart of this tender film, and take both the audience and Marc on a journey of self-awareness and discovery. Hawkes is simply amazing. He imbues the character with innocence, hope and wry humor in what can only be described as a tour de force performance. Hunt is equally skilled in her role, combining professionalism, playfulness, sensuality, and compassion in series of sessions which require full nudity. Both actors are courageous in their pursuit of truth and humanity and achieve Oscar caliber performances, thanks to the sensitive direction of writer/director Ben Lewin.

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