Starring: John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, William H. Macy
Adapted from an article by the film’s disabled central character, Mark O’Brien, “The Sessions” feels the burden of its source material. An insightful but nevertheless compromised account from a remarkable man, it distinctly feels as if director Ben Lewin is rashly trying to extrapolate events into a feature-length narrative. The main story involving O’Brien and sex surrogate Cheryl (both played expertly by John Hawkes and Helen Hunt) unfolds over six ‘sessions’ in which a touching journey takes place between the pair, but the script insists on plumbing worthless humour from Christian paranoia and the strange ambivalence of William H. Macy’s catholic priest towards the subject of sex. This is a warm story with a healthy attitude towards intimacy and human connection, but even the acting can’t transform this into a substantative exercise for the big screen.