‘Sessions’ is heartfelt message of intimacy - Momaha.com

BLOGS

Claire Flatowicz: Spring Cleaning: Signs it’s time to toss your clothes Claire Flatowicz: Spring Cleaning: Signs it’s time to toss your clothes
It’s time to dust off those shelves that never see a dust rag, clean out those kitchen cabinets and my clothes closet.
Amy Grace: 8 white hot dresses that are under $100 Amy Grace: 8 white hot dresses that are under $100
Gone are the days and the rule that says you can't wear white until after Memorial Day.
Jen Schneider: Take the April Acts of Kindness challenge Jen Schneider: Take the April Acts of Kindness challenge
Get inspired to take part in April Acts of Kindness Month.
Parenting U: Keeping bedtime from becoming a nightmare Parenting U: Keeping bedtime from becoming a nightmare
Sleeping seems like one of the easiest, most natural functions to most adults, but most parents can attest that getting a child to bed can be full of problems.
Jessica Brashear: 6 things no pregnant woman should be expected to do Jessica Brashear: 6 things no pregnant woman should be expected to do
I’m tired. I’m large. I’m sick and tired of being large.
The Sassy Housewife: Why won’t my child use the potty? C’mon we’ve been training forever The Sassy Housewife: Why won’t my child use the potty? C’mon we’ve been training forever
My daughter just can’t seem to get the concept. She is constantly having accidents and it is a fight to just get her on the potty.

Entertainment - Moms


Helen Hunt and John Hawkes in "The Sessions"




MOVIE REVIEW

‘Sessions’ is heartfelt message of intimacy

Related Links

In our culture today, sex is everywhere.

Intimacy is harder to come by.

THE SESSIONS
Quality: ★★★ (out of four)

Director: Ben Lewin

Stars: John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, William H. Macy, Adam Arkin

Rating: R for strong sexuality, graphic nudity, frank dialogue

Running time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

Theater: Film Streams

“The Sessions,” a movie about a disabled man’s quest to lose his virginity with a sex surrogate, makes this point with great heart, humor, deep feeling and artistry.

It is, as they say, based on a true story. Mark O’Brien, a Berkeley, Calif., poet and journalist who contracted polio as a child, spent most of his life in an iron lung. He could survive outside it for just three or four hours a day.

His body had feeling everywhere, but his twisted muscles refused to operate his limbs. He was transported by caregivers, who pushed the gurney on which he lay wherever he needed to go.

In 1990 O’Brien wrote an article, “On Seeing a Sex Surrogate,” about his experience at age 38 with Cheryl Cohen Green, a married mother of two who, at least in this movie, is very serious about her profession of helping people.

Cheryl (Helen Hunt, “As Good as It Gets”) has ground rules. There can be no more than six sessions. This must be about what Mark needs to move forward in life but cannot be about moving their relationship beyond the initial goal.

That proves tricky for both.

Mark (John Hawkes, “Winter’s Bone”) lays his own groundwork as a devout Catholic by going to confession, telling his priest (William H. Macy, “Fargo”) what he plans to do before the sessions begin. He’s looking for advance absolution, since sex outside the marital bond is a sin under church law.

Happily, Father Brendan is not a stickler. He knows Mark’s situation and his heart. The priest’s own celibacy, perhaps, adds to his humanity.

Hunt’s character is very matter of fact about disrobing, describing what she will do with Mark, and talking about sex. Mark’s character is full of fear and anxiety, has guilt issues (not just about sex) and pours his heart into poetry, some of which we get to hear.

Mark reports back to his priest about everything, and those scenes are a source of warmth, humor and life wisdom.

Cheryl is contending with issues at home (Adam Arkin plays her unemployed husband) and within her heart as well, shaping her into a complex character.

If nudity and straight talk about sex put you off, this is not your movie — though what is shown onscreen sexually is mostly left to the imagination.

Director-screenwriter Ben Lewin (“Ally McBeal,” “Touched by an Angel”), a polio survivor, carefully avoids sentimentality in the telling of this emotionally delicate journey.

Hawkes and Hunt are so good at their craft, we see a universality in what they are experiencing — a bond that flows from intimacy to transcend anything sexual. These are brave, delicate, Oscar-caliber performances.

And this movie is one of the year’s best.

Contact the writer:

402-444-1269, bob.fischbach@owh.com


Contact the Omaha World-Herald newsroom


Copyright ©2014 Omaha World-Herald®. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, displayed or redistributed for any purpose without permission from the Omaha World-Herald.

MUST
READS

5 things to know about tax day 5 things to know about tax day
The deadline for filing taxes is midnight Tuesday.
10 strategies for building your child’s self-confidence 10 strategies for building your child’s self-confidence
Parents are the main source of a child's sense of self-worth.
Nebraska family and town depicted on the big screen in ‘Heaven is for Real’ Nebraska family and town depicted on the big screen in ‘Heaven is for Real’
Meet the real-life boy who inspired 'Heaven Is For Real'

Contests
& Events

Lossy
Six former artists-in-residence explore the murky territory of physicality in an era of mediated representation. Free and open to the public.
Lossy
Six former artists-in-residence explore the murky territory of physicality in an era of mediated representation. Free and open to the public.
Jerusalem
The city of Jerusalem is sacred to half the people on earth. This film seeks to explain why.
Lossy
Six former Bemis Center artists-in-residence explore the murky territory of physicality in an era of mediated representation.

Magazine

What You're saying