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The Sessions Review


By taking a sensitive, honest approach to this true story, breakthrough filmmaker Lewin both avoids sentimentality and keeps the focus on the inner lives of the central characters. He also somehow manages to make a movie about a sexual surrogate strongly involving: we are never even remotely tempted to giggle.

This is the story of Mark O'Brien (Hawkes), a journalist from Berkeley, California, who lives in an iron lung that he can only leave for a few hours a week. Paralysed from the neck down by polio as a young boy, Mark decides at age 38 that he wants to lose his virginity. Consumed by Catholic guilt about this desire, he consults his local priest (Macy), who says he deserves a pass on this one. So his no-nonsense assistant Vera (Bloodgood) finds him a surrogate in Cheryl (Hunt), who starts eight sessions that are designed to lead to sex. And as she gets to know Mark, Cheryl begins to let her guard down.

Lewin refuses to shy away from any aspect of this story, confronting everything in honest, sometimes uncomfortable ways that are never remotely sentimentalised. It would be easy to drift into syruppy schmaltz with this kind of material, but the script maintains a bracingly sharp wit, and the actors cleverly underplay every scene. This adds to the realism and helps us understand all of the people on-screen. Hawkes and Hunt are both transparent and revelatory, each in a difficult role that could have been much showier, but is stronger due to their restraint. Macy and Bloodgood are terrific as the sardonic supporting characters. And Marks (as another assistant) and Arkin (as Cheryl's understanding husband) add terrific layers to their much smaller roles.

Continue reading: The Sessions Review

Picture - Nicole Boxer, Stephen Nemeth, U.S.... , Thursday 8th November 2012

Nicole Boxer, Stephen Nemeth, U and S. Senator Barbara Boxer - Nicole Boxer, Stephen Nemeth, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer Thursday 8th November 2012 Acclaimed Documentary "The Invisible War" Networking Luncheon Hosted by Senator Barbara Boxer held at The Beverly Hills Hotel

Picture - Marcia Gay Harden, U.S. Senator... , Thursday 8th November 2012

Marcia Gay Harden, U, S. Senator Barbara Boxer, Frances Fisher and Stephen Nemeth - Marcia Gay Harden, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, Frances Fisher, Stephen Nemeth Thursday 8th November 2012 Acclaimed Documentary "The Invisible War" Networking Luncheon Hosted by Senator Barbara Boxer held at The Beverly Hills Hotel

Picture - Stephen Nemeth and guest Beverly Hills, California, Saturday 27th June 2009

Stephen Nemeth - Stephen Nemeth and guest held at The Beverly Wilshire Hotel Beverly Hills, California - The 36th Annual Vision Awards Saturday 27th June 2009

Stephen Nemeth:
Pictures Film

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