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
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.
Graduation. Today I hear the crowd's applause. Receive the congratulations from ...
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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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