IMDb > The Sessions (2012)
The Sessions
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The Sessions (2012) More at IMDbPro »

Photos (See all 44 | slideshow) Videos (see all 3)
The Sessions -- Academy Award Winner Helen Hunt* joins Academy Award Nominees John Hawkes** and William H. Macy*** in this triumphant true story about love, sex, desire...and making every breath count.
The Sessions -- 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.
The Sessions -- Trailer for The Sessions


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7.2/10   36,197 votes »
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Popularity: ?
Down 30% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Ben Lewin (written for the screen by)
Mark O'Brien (article)
View company contact information for The Sessions on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
16 November 2012 (USA) See more »
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. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Nominated for Oscar. Another 24 wins & 56 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Emotional, touching, and uplifting it inspires an intimate feel and discovery of achievement. See more (126 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

John Hawkes ... Mark

Helen Hunt ... Cheryl

William H. Macy ... Father Brendan

Moon Bloodgood ... Vera

Annika Marks ... Amanda

Adam Arkin ... Josh

Rhea Perlman ... Mikvah Lady

W. Earl Brown ... Rod

Robin Weigert ... Susan

Blake Lindsley ... Dr. Laura White

Ming Lo ... Clerk

Rusty Schwimmer ... Joan

Jennifer Kumiyama ... Carmen

Tobias Forrest ... Greg

Jarrod Bailey ... Tony

James Martinez ... Matt
Paul MacLean ... Young Mark
Phoebe Lewin ... Girl on Beach
Jonathan Hanrahan ... Unicyclist

Jason Jack Edwards ... Waiter (as Jason Jack Edwards)

J. Teddy Garces ... Man in Elevator

Daniel Quinn ... E.R. Doctor
B.J. Clinkscales ... Ambulance Driver
Terry ... Cat
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Gina-Raye Carter ... Pill Nurse (uncredited)

Amanda Jane Fleming ... Margaret (uncredited)
Cody Lascala ... Patient (uncredited)

Stephane Nicoli ... Patient (uncredited)

George F. Watson ... Amanda's Husband with Baby (uncredited)

Directed by
Ben Lewin 
Writing credits
Ben Lewin (written for the screen by)

Mark O'Brien (article "On Seeing a Sex Surrogate")

Produced by
Doug Blake .... executive producer (as Douglas Blake)
Julius Colman .... executive producer
Judi Levine .... producer
Alexandra Lewin .... associate producer
Ben Lewin .... producer
Stephen Nemeth .... producer
Maurice Silman .... executive producer
Abid Syed .... associate producer
Darlene Winter .... associate producer
Original Music by
Marco Beltrami 
Cinematography by
Geoffrey Simpson (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Lisa Bromwell 
Casting by
Ronnie Yeskel 
Production Design by
John Mott 
Set Decoration by
Sofia Jimenez  (as Sofia Elena Jimenez)
Costume Design by
Justine Seymour 
Makeup Department
Stephenie Irish .... assistant hair stylist
Stephenie Irish .... assistant makeup artist
Dmitriy Kirillov .... assistant hair stylist (as Dimitry Kirillov)
Dmitriy Kirillov .... assistant makeup artist (as Dimitry Kirillov)
Elissa Prager .... assistant hair stylist
Elissa Prager .... assistant makeup artist
Darrell Redleaf-Fielder .... hair stylist: Helen Hunt (as Darrell Fielder)
Darrell Redleaf-Fielder .... makeup artist: Helen Hunt (as Darrell Fielder)
Natalie Wood .... lead hair stylist
Natalie Wood .... lead makeup artist
Coco Yuon .... assistant hair stylist
Coco Yuon .... assistant makeup artist
Production Management
Doug Blake .... unit production manager (as Douglas Blake)
John Portnoy .... post-production supervisor
Rebekah Sindoris .... production supervisor
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Ben Bywater .... second assistant director
David Dwiggins .... first assistant director
Billy Greenfield .... second second assistant director
Jake Worden .... second second assistant director
Art Department
Stephen Andrews .... construction
Giles Augustine .... swing gang
Bianca Noel Baratie .... prop assistant (as Bianca Bareti)
Christina Brenton .... property master
Benjamin Brugger .... swing gang
Eric Cantley .... swing gang
Jason Cronburg .... carpenter
Jose Luis Cruz .... swing gang
Miriam Dafford .... set dresser
Garrett Flamig .... swing gang
Edwin Hernandez .... lead man
Erin McKenna .... scenic painter
Ben Monstrey .... prop assistant
Niles Padilla .... lead man
Nathan Owen Rothenstein .... set dresser
Jeramey Rund .... set dresser (as Jeremy Rund)
Joe Skiff .... construction
Lisa Matsuura Walker .... scenic painter (as Lisa Walker)
Max Webb .... set dresser
Sound Department
Joshua Adeniji .... sound effects editor
Scott Brewster .... adr mixer
Matt Culbreath .... assistant sound editor
Robert Dehn .... sound studio manager
Derek Deitz .... foley mixer
Trevor Gates .... sound effects editor
Jason Gaya .... adr mixer (as Jason 'Frenchie' Gaya)
Ginger Geary .... foley artist
Angela Hemingway .... adr editor
Angela Hemingway .... dialogue editor
Steven Iba .... supervising sound editor
Brad Kalpakov .... boom operator
Marty Kasparian .... sound mixer
Ashley McEntee .... adr facility coordinator
Spencer Schwieterman .... assistant sound editor
Chris Terhune .... adr mixer
Kelly Vockel .... adr assistant
Jonathan Wales .... sound mixer
Damiano Marchese .... dialogue editor (uncredited)
John Soukup .... sound transfer (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Chris Barnett .... grip
Matthew Boda .... electrician
John C. Brumet .... grip (as John Brumet)
Kendrick Camak .... electrician
Laura Creecy .... digital imaging technician
Michael Patrick Cronin .... dolly grip (as Michael Cronin)
Wyatt Denny .... grip
Michael Di Ricco .... electrician (as Mike DiRicco)
Derrick Esperanza .... grip (as Derrick Esperonza)
Brian Fletcher .... balloon operator
Noah Flippo .... grip
Brandon Flohr .... electrician
Isaiah Fortajada .... first assistant camera
Nikolas Garff .... electrician
Sarah M. Golonka .... still photographer (as Sarah Golonka)
Tim Herrman .... grip
Christine Hodinh .... b camera first assistant camera
Dale Launer .... camera supplier: Sim Video
Matt Lim .... b camera second assistant camera
Jason McGuire .... best boy electric (as Jason 'Evil' McGuire)
Ryan Meyer .... gaffer
Ryan Meyer .... key grip
Arlene Muller .... camera supplier: EVS
Arlene Muller .... second assistant camera
Steven T. Nolan .... remote head technician (as Steven Nolan)
William Novy .... electrician (as Will Novy)
Kosta Rigopoulos .... grip
Erik Rodgers .... electrician
Ezra Silman .... behind the scenes videographer
Geoffrey Simpson .... camera operator
Darryl St. Juste .... grip
Derek Touvell .... grip
Mike Ursetta .... grip
Joe Webb .... grip
Animation Department
Robert Vega .... title animator
Casting Department
Virginia Siegler .... casting assistant
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Ximena Davalos .... set costumer
Michele Marin .... set costumer
Editorial Department
Angel Askins .... digital intermediate producer: Company 3
Eric R. Brodeur .... first assistant editor (as Eric Brodeur)
Mike Chiado .... digital intermediate technologist: Company 3
Jaime Corbacho .... post-production assistant
Siggy Ferstl .... digital intermediate colorist: Company 3
Travis Flynn .... additional digital intermediate colorist: Company 3
Dan Goslee .... digital conform editor: Company 3
Chloé Hamilton .... post-production assistant
Jackie Lee .... digital intermediate account executive: Company 3
Cassandra Leigh .... post-production assistant
Alexandra Lewin .... post-production coordinator
Nick Monton .... senior digital intermediate producer: Company 3
Stefan Sonnenfeld .... digital intermediate executive producer: Company 3
Devin Sterling .... digital intermediate head of production: Company 3
Arabella Stubbs .... post-production assistant
T.J. Young .... assistant editor
Location Management
Dan Eason .... location scout
Jared Parsons .... location manager
Music Department
John Kurlander .... score recording engineer
Tyson Lozensky .... digital score recordist
Buck Sanders .... score co-producer
Sharon Smith .... music editor
Sharon Smith .... music supervisor
Udi Harpaz .... composer: additional music (uncredited)
Tyson Lozensky .... assistant score mixer (uncredited)
Transportation Department
Domingo Bustamante .... driver
Jonathan Hanrahan .... transportation coordinator (as Jonathan 'Johnny 5' Hanrahan)
Chris Pedersen .... water truck driver
Andrew Tiasacan .... transportation captain (as Drew Tiasacan)
Helena Torgersen .... picture car coordinator
Other crew
Jake Alinikoff .... production assistant
Sheri Aparicio .... animal trainer: Paws for Effect
Michael Balog .... security
Christopher Bracken .... production assistant
Inetri Brazil .... choreographer (as Inetri Brazel)
Eamon Brennan .... production assistant
Kelli Brownell .... animal trainer: Paws for Effect
Holden Burk .... stand-in
Vicky Choy .... travel coordinator
Jaime Corbacho .... production assistant
Nathan Davies .... stand-in
Phil Eisenhower .... studio teacher: Stella Pacific Management
Craig A. Emanuel .... legal sales representative (as Craig Emanuel)
Tecia Esposito .... script supervisor
Susan Fernbach .... special consultant
Matthew Fladell .... production attorney (as Matt Fladell)
Guy Flint .... studio teacher: Stella Pacific Management
Christopher France .... stand-in
Shauna Frontera .... production assistant
Mairead Gaffney .... production assistant
Teri Gooden .... caterer: In Good Taste
Cheryl Cohen Greene .... special consultant
Judd Greener .... key set production assistant
George Hofstetter .... police officer (as George Hoffstetter)
Shawna Hoppes .... assistant: Ben Lewin
David Knipp .... craft service
Joe LaSalle .... stand-in
Nicoletta Lingrosso .... production coordinator
Josh McClintic .... production coordinator
Bradley McIntyre .... fire safety officer
Gilli Moon .... website consultant
Richard Parker .... stand-in
Jennifer Ilene Perry .... stand-in (as Jennifer Perry)
Christie Pesicka .... stand-in
John Portnoy .... end titles
Deborah Ross .... main title designer: Deborah Ross Film Design
Steven Roughan .... stand-in
John Sinaiko .... stand-in
Rebekah Sindoris .... production accountant
Caitlin Smith .... production assistant
Patrece Smith .... production assistant (as Pátrece Smith)
Betsy Stahl .... production executive
Raquel Steinberg .... massage therapist
Josh Wever .... production assistant (as Joshua Wever)
Kate Yerves .... stand-in (as Katherine Yerves)
Hilary Carver .... publicist (uncredited)
Lucy Doty .... central city studio owner (uncredited)
Marguerite Lliteras .... central city studio operations manager (uncredited)
Ralph Lliteras .... central city studio manager (uncredited)
Sunshine Lliteras .... central city studio props department (uncredited)
Michael D. Nes .... project manager: Deluxe Digital Cinema (uncredited)
Deborah Absler .... special thanks
Charles Arthur .... thanks
Jenni Baird .... thanks
HaRa Beck .... thanks (as haRa beck)
Kris Bergen .... special thanks
Daniel Bernato .... thanks
Gemma Bishop .... thanks
Josh Blau .... thanks
Barry Braun .... special thanks (as Marilyn & Barry Braun)
Marilyn Braun .... special thanks (as Marilyn & Barry Braun)
David Brisbin .... special thanks (as Laura Innes & Dave Brisbin)
Harold Bronson .... thanks (as Stephanie & Harold Bronson)
Stephanie Bronson .... thanks (as Stephanie & Harold Bronson)
Brian Burdekin .... special thanks
Monique Clerie .... thanks
Robbie Conal .... thanks
Elizabeth Delaney .... special thanks
Jessica Emmons .... thanks
Ernie-the-cat .... thanks
Henry Eshelman .... thanks
Caroleen Feeney .... thanks
Laura Fitzsimmons .... special thanks
Angelo Garzieri .... special thanks
Rex Glensy .... thanks (as Rex Glensey)
Jenni Gold .... thanks (as Jenni Gold & Jeff Maynard)
Louise Green .... special thanks
Sam Gubieski .... special thanks
Jack W. Haddox .... thanks (as Jack Haddox)
Seth Harris .... thanks
Gary Hearst .... special thanks (as Susan & Gary Hearst)
Susan Hearst .... special thanks (as Susan & Gary Hearst)
Mara Herbkersman .... thanks
Laura Innes .... special thanks (as Laura Innes & Dave Brisbin)
Marie Kennedy .... special thanks
Fazal Khan .... thanks (as Fazal Kahn)
Sasha Koziak .... thanks
Sandy Kroopf .... thanks
Cody LaScala .... thanks
Laura Laser .... thanks
Samantha Levenshus .... thanks
Barbara Kamler Levine .... special thanks (as Barbara Kamler & Greg Levine)
Greg Levine .... special thanks (as Barbara Kamler & Greg Levine)
Peter Levine .... thanks
Michael Lewin .... special thanks
Oliver Lewin .... thanks
Michael Lewis .... thanks
Boris Liberman .... special thanks
Caroline Libresco .... thanks
Michael Liffman .... special thanks
Helen Light .... special thanks (as Helen & Larry Light)
Larry Light .... special thanks (as Helen & Larry Light)
Barbara Lindemann .... thanks
Susan Linville .... thanks
Tom Lowenstein .... special thanks
Duncan MacLean .... special thanks (as Tracy & Duncan MacLean)
Tracy MacLean .... special thanks (as Tracy & Duncan MacLean)
Jeff Maynard .... thanks (as Jenni Gold & Jeff Maynard)
Hilary Morse .... thanks
Lincoln Nemeth .... thanks
Valerie Ann Nemeth .... thanks
Mark O'Brien .... in memory of
Guy Orly .... thanks
Pauline Orly .... special thanks
Ethan Persoff .... thanks
Robert Richter .... special thanks
Britt Ringer .... thanks
Marcus Rose .... special thanks
Jeremy Ruskin .... special thanks (as Jeremy & Roz Ruskin)
Roz Ruskin .... special thanks (as Jeremy & Roz Ruskin)
Jonathan Salk .... thanks
Bradford L. Schlei .... thanks (as Bradford Schlei)
John Schuster .... special thanks
Sig Shonholtz .... special thanks
Jerra Spence .... thanks
Paddy Spence .... thanks (as Paddy & Jerra Spence)
Karl Spoerri .... thanks
Viviana Vezzani .... thanks
John Wesley Whitton .... thanks
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"The Surrogate" - USA (festival title)
See more »
Rated R for strong sexuality including graphic nudity and frank dialogue
95 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Australia:MA15+ | Brazil:14 | Canada:18A (DVD rating) | Canada:14A (Ontario) (theatrical rating) | Canada:16+ (Quebec) (DVD rating) | Denmark:A | Germany:12 | Hong Kong:III | Hungary:16 | Ireland:16 | Japan:R18+ | Japan:R15+ (edited version) | Mexico:B15 | Netherlands:16 | Norway:A | Portugal:M/12 | Singapore:R21 | South Korea:18 | Spain:16 | Sweden:Btl | Switzerland:14 | UK:15 | USA:R (certificate #47329)

Did You Know?

The same story was chronicled in Breathing Lessons: The Life and Work of Mark O'Brien (1996) which won that year's Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.See more »
Anachronisms: Cheryl wears Wacoal bras from 2011, including the "Embrace Lace Underwire" bra style #65191.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 my friends. Today I ask if I've found a place among the rest, who studied, read, wrote, and passed the test in cap and gown. Today I hope you see a man upon this stage.
See more »
Movie Connections:
CloserSee more »


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35 out of 41 people found the following review useful.
Emotional, touching, and uplifting it inspires an intimate feel and discovery of achievement., 14 November 2012
Author: Danny Blankenship from Petersburg, Virginia

Been a little while since I've seen a film that's as touching and moving as "The Sessions" which is based on the real life story of a California man named Mark O' Brien. And it's certainly a little different O' Brien(in a top notch and excellent performance from John Hawkes)a poet and journalist is a man with talent, but tragically he's confined to an iron lung due to a kid bout with polio. Then at the age of 38 Mark has made the big decision to lose his virginity. This will be a big impact on Mark's life so he consults the advice of his ever honest priest Father Brendan(in a good supporting turn from veteran William H. Macy)who oddly enough gives a good hearted thumbs up.

This pleasure changing experiment will have to be done with the help of a professional sex surrogate and this lady is a strong and tough wife and mother who makes her living helping others enter Cheryl(in a strong and direct turn from Helen Hunt)who can make everything appear like she's the plain Jane girl from next door. Slowly but surely these encounters or sessions between her and Mark produce results of feeling, relaxation, mind changing, and comfort, all before they finally approach the pleasure point! Along the way this picture is told with honesty and much of the scenes are humor mixed with blunt and brash serious feel of a man being set free toward a new feeling of pleasure freedom finally! Overall the "Sessions" is a film of journey and it shows how the discovery of sexual pleasure can bring out emotional freedom that's touching and memorable even though the scenes are brash with skin and memorable and educational with thought. This film is a real inspirational winner and the chemistry between Helen Hunt and John Hawkes is in top notch form as director Ben Lewin made a real and true winner.

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Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for The Sessions (2012)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
What has happened to Helen Hunts face? jack000-3
Hawkes nailed it,loved this movie branwese
Hawkes, not Hunt, deserved a nomination rocknthesubrbs
Question about the feelings involved :) sherineyousery
Did she have feelings for him? (spoiler) gimcm3185
Wow, some people pay too much attention to goofs InjunKB
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