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"The Sessions" Movie Review

Updated on December 27, 2014

"The Sessions"

The Sessions will disappoint you if you are looking for porn or something kinky. The movie is about a 38 year old man, played by John Hawkes, who has lived in an iron lung since he had polio as a child, and his sex therapist, Helen Hunt, who helps him experience sex for the first time. (Hunt's character is a quite different type of sex therapist from Steve Carrell who assisted Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones in Hope Springs.)

The movie is based on a newspaper account by Mark O'Brien, a disabled Berkeley, California, poet and reporter, about his assignment to interview disabled people about their sex lives and his own experience with a sexual surrogate therapist. O'Brien was a devout Catholic who is befriended and advised by his parish priest played by William H. Macy. Macy is perplexed when Hawkes seeks his permission to seek sex therapy from Helen Hunt, but he ultimately tells Hawkes to "Go for it!" After each of the maximum limit of six sessions with Helen Hunt, Hawkes recounts his experience to his priest. These sessions provide a humorous and sensitive counter-balance to the more serious sessions with Helen Hunt. Hawkes, Hunt and Macy were all superb as were the three other women in Hawkes life, played ably and sensitively by Moon Bloodgood, Annika Marks and Rhea Perlman.

I hadn't seen Helen Hunt since "As Good as It Gets" and hardly remembered what a beautiful and talented actress she is. She looks great at age 49, but I'm sure the role which required complete nudity and intimate sexual scenes was quite a challenge for her. The brief therapy scenes were played by Hunt and Hawkes convincingly and with complete good taste and tenderness as well as a bit of humor.

The movie was based on an article by Mark O'Brien entitled "On Seeing a Sex Surrogate."
It was written and directed by Mark Lewin.

Rated R.

"Sessions" Trailer


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    • Ralph Deeds profile image

      Ralph Deeds 4 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Thanks for your comment. I agree that movies reflect societal changes. I'm not sure whether or not society is becoming more tolerant of prostitution. However, "The Sessions" is not about prostitution. See the movie and judge for yourself.

    • wtaylorjr2001 profile image

      William H Taylor 4 years ago from Binghamton NY

      I think that media, whether its books in the 19th century, film in the 20th century, or video games in the 21rst century are a reflection of, a map of, or a representation of the society in which they occur. I think that as films become popular, we can see the direction of change the society is on the verge of taking. This leads me to the question, what is this saying about the way American society is evolving? Are we becoming more tolerant of prostitution on a sociological level? (Or is it societal level?) I think that is was Lawrence Fishburne's daughter who wanted to be a porn star. Howard Sterns effect on society may also be relevant. I find it interesting how this sociological system is evolving.

    • Ralph Deeds profile image

      Ralph Deeds 4 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Thanks. "The Sessions" was a daring and unusual movie which was quite well done.

    • dbachman profile image

      David Bachman 4 years ago from Cincinnati, Ohio

      Great hub Ralph, i only wish Helen Hunt would get more attention like this.