The Sessions is a movie based on an article O’Brien wrote tackling his experiences with Greene, “On Seeing a Sex Surrogate”, which was published in The Sun magazine in 1990.
O’Brien played by John Hawkes is a journalist and poet who is paralyzed neck down by polio since his childhood. He uses an iron lung in order to breathe and can only move his head.
Like most severely disabled people, the question of whether it’s OK to have sexual experiences or not is quite taboo. Being a believer, O’Brien consulted a priest about the matter. He later on decides to hire a sex surrogate Cheryl Cohen Greene, played by Helen Hunt to help him lose his virginity. The experience is going to be an emotional roller-coaster for both characters during 95 minutes.
John Hawkes and Helen Hunt put on a bold performance. I laughed, I got worried, I cried…They were brilliant. Sex and disability is a serious subject and the movie is an invitation to think the matter through and debate it.
The movie won the Audience Award – U.S. Dramatic while the cast received a Special Jury Prize for Ensemble Acting at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. In addition, actress Helen Hunt was nominated for Best Supporting Actress at the Academy Awards.
I would highly recommend it to people interested in this particular topic or social issues in general and drama. It is rated R as it contains frank language and nudity.