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The Sessions  

Cast

Mark: John Hawkes
Cheryl: Helen Hunt
Father Brendan: William H. Macy
Vera: Moon Bloodgood
Amanda: Annika Marks
Review October 2012

Based on the true story of Mark O'Brien, a Berkeley scholar and poet, The Sessions is a touching film about a man trapped in an iron lung, whose final wish before he dies is to lose his virginity. Paralyzed by polio at the age of six, O'Brien has spent 32 years confined to a bed, unable to sit up, let alone experience any kind of intimacy. With the help of therapists and his priest, he gets in touch with Cheryl Cohen-Green, a professional sex surrogate, who helps to make his final wish come true. In the hands of any other filmmaker, The Sessions might be overly sentimental or sexually perverse. But writer/director Ben Lewin understands his characters inside and out, partly because he too contracted polio as a child. The result is a very elegant and charming film about the simple need for human affection. With expert performances by Helen Hunt and John Hawkes, The Sessions is filled with astonishing grace and hope. And no doubt, is a strong contender for Oscar this year.



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