The quest for love appears insurmountable when a man confined to an iron lung determines, at age 38, to lose his virginity. Based on the autobiographical writings of Berkeley, California–based journalist and poet Mark O’Brien, The Surrogate chronicles his attempt to transcend the limbo between childhood and adulthood, in which he is literally trapped. With the blessing of an unusual priest and support from enlightened caregivers, the poignantly optimistic and always droll O’Brien swallows his fear and hires a sex surrogate. What transpires over a handful of sessions transforms them both. Rivetingly, sensitively, and humorously portrayed by John Hawkes and Helen Hunt, the couple’s clinical exercise becomes a tender, awkward, and gracious journey from isolation to connection—corporal and spiritual.
This poet’s extraordinary story resonates with the elegance and precision of a poem. No line in The Surrogate is extraneous, no frame accidental. Filmmaker Ben Lewin’s masterful brushstrokes endow every character with fullness and authenticity, fashioning rich metaphors and emotional nuance and fusing them into an exquisite, unforgettable awakening. –Sundance Film Festival
Unbelievably bad. Horrendous acting on nearly all counts. Disastrous script. William H. Macy is about as priestly as a witches' coven. What an awful attempt at a tribute.
A guy with polio and a cougar have sex. But seriously, I appreciated the level of nuance this leant to the sexual experience, which is so often trivialized in Hollywood. It gets fairly sappy near the end, but John Hawkes and Helen Hunt are fantastic.
An overview of what the critics are saying about the winners.
Title: The Sessions
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Director: Ben Lewin
John Hawkes… read review
Though all disfigurements are horrible and restrict some part vital for a completely healthy life, the ones I’d hate to possess are blindness, deafness, and some form of being paralyzed. To be blind… read review
(Originally posted at rockandreel.tumblr.com)
Ben Lewin’s The Sessions is never as challenging or engaging as it could be, yet it is much franker and funnier than one might expect from a premise… read review