Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Sessions - Movie Review

As the poster above advertises, The Sessions has been a big hit at film festivals around the world. Writer and director Ben Lewin has adapted an amazing true story for the big screen and filled it with actors that can deliver performances that fit the material perfectly. If that's not enough then you should also know that Helen Hunt gets all kinds of naked!!

This story centers around Mark O'Brien (John Hawkes) who was rendered immobile at a young age by polio and must spend most of his life within a device called an iron lung. This contraption helps to keep him alive although he can spend a fair amount of time away from it, but is ultimately dependent on it and the assistance of his hired help.

Of course, Mark still has regular emotions and needs so, after having his heart broken, turns to Father Brendan (William H. Macy) who has just taken over duties at his church for counsel and friendship. After a few discussions about his emotional and physical issues, the two men decide that it is in Mark's best interests to hire a sex surrogate to help him lose his virginity once and for all.

What really stands out in this movie is the acting performances by the primary cast. John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, and William H. Macy each give performances that could garner attention come Oscar time. Even Moon Bloodgood does an outstanding job with a very subdued turn as Mark's caretaker, Vera. Lewin manages to bring out such honest emotion from all the actors that you really get drawn into their individual stories and how they all ultimately affect each other's lives.

There's not a whole lot to get in to from a technical aspect. The cinematography is very intimate without feeling claustrophobic and the actors are clearly given center stage to do their thing. There are some really nice visual cues that help convey emotion including a few involving Mark's cat that end up saying more than some entire movies. The story on its own is a good one and the strong acting performances elevate The Sessions to a movie you really need to see.

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