Saturday, 6 July 2013

Movie Enthusiast: The Sessions

The premise: "A man in an iron lung who wishes to lose his virginity contacts a professional sex surrogate with the help of his therapist and priest."

The genre boxes: Drama, Comedy, Romance

The reaction: I thought I'd be angrier.

The part where I say more things about it: We go into the movie knowing our protagonist, Mark O'Brien, has some serious health issues: He spends hours each day in an iron lung. And when we learn that the desire that drives the story here is the desire for human connection, the desire to experience intimacy, well, I think we'd all be bracing ourselves for some horribly manipulative sadness. But the thing, the wonderful thing, is that the movie doesn't go there. I'm telling you this because I would have watched it sooner if I was sure it wouldn't make me angry-sad.

John Hawkes is amazing as Mark. The movie is based on a true story, and Hawkes and Ben Lewin  who directed the movie and adapted O'Brien's original article, "On Seeing a Sex Surrogate," for the screen — make sure we know that Mark is a real guy. People have been shouting for months about how fantastic Helen Hunt is in this, and they are so right. But my favourite part about this movie was Mark's relationship with his priest, played by William H. Macy. 



The verdict: Watch it. It's sad, but in a things-are-really-kind-of-alright way; and the sad is balanced by humour and lightness. Also, it's like a minute and a half long (95 minutes). It's on Netflix in Canada, and if it's on Netflix in Canada, it's got to be on Netflix in everywhere. And William H. Macy. So watch it.

7 comments:

  1. Ohhhh I've been wanting to see this. I'm having difficulty explaining the premise to my husband in a way that will make him want to watch it. I'll just...direct him here to your blog.

    Also...I THOUGHT I saw William H. Macy going into the library right as I was coming out. And it probably was just someone who uncannily resembled him, but instead of reasoning through all that, I just decided that I saw William H. Macy at the library.

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    1. See, that's awesome. Because I am always seeing famous people (most commonly, Stan Lee, for some reason. Lots of grey-haired dudes with over-sized glasses around, I guess) but it is highly unlikely that I'm actually seeing them walking out of the Boston Pizza in Fort St John. But William H Macy going into the library in LA? THIS IS A THING THAT COULD HAPPEN. THAT IS AWESOME. Obviously you and William H Macy are best friends now. Please tell him for me that I like his face.

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  2. But Kayleigh, HOW did you know that I was looking for new films to watch today?! You must be magic. This does sound good, but it's not on UK Netflix so booooooo. BOOOOOO. Still. I'll keep an eye out for it in places.

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    1. Ah! Sorry, I take it all back- it apparently hasn't been released yet over here, so maaaaybe when it is, Netflix will have it too!

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  3. I keep hearing good things about this movie but I just can't work up the motivation to want to watch it. It'll probably be the case of me falling in love with it (see, Never Let Me Go) and cursing my family and friends for not forcing me to see it but...eh, what are you going to do?

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  4. Fascinating - I have never heard of an iron lung before. I like how you describe the movie as "sad, but in a things-are-really-kind-of-alright way". I can't deal with sad movies unless it's balanced with a bittersweet or optimistic sort of ending. I'll have to check to see if this is available on Netflix for me!

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  5. I think I put this on my queue because Helen Hunt was on the poster. But I had no idea what it was about. NOW I AM MORE COMPELLED TO SEE IT. But also -- wait -- wtf is a sex surrogate. Does she have sex with him? Or does she have sex FOR him? Or...agh.

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