December 18, 2014
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The Sessions
Don Fowler
4 stars
Reviewer's Rating:

(Sentimental, uplifting true story)

The true story of Mark O'Brien, who spent most of his life in an iron lung, is both sentimental, uplifting and humorous. Most of the story takes place in California in 1988, when iron lungs were still in use. Mark, at age 38, is a virgin, never having been with a woman "in a biblical sense.” Played with passion and a glint in his eye by John Hawkes, Mark shares his frustration with the local parish priest (William H. Macy).

Mark engages the assistance of a sex therapist (Helen Hunt), who explains that he is limited to six sessions.

The relationship that develops between Mark and Cheryl is heartwarming, funny, intimate and at times sad. Sex therapists are not supposed to get emotionally involved. But she had never met a man like Mark. As independent as you can be living most of your days in an iron lung, and as naive as can be, never having experienced the intimacy of a woman, Mark at times feels sorry for himself but generally keeps a positive attitude.

The performances of Hunt and Hawkes in this small independent movie are outstanding, as they come to know each other and care for each other.

Because of the nature of the movie, which calls for nudity, sex and sexual language, it carries an R rating. However, it is one of the sweetest relationship movies you will ever see. Bring a handkerchief.


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