HollywoodChicago.com RSS   Facebook   HollywoodChicago.com on Twitter   Free Giveaway E-mail   

Film Review: John Hawkes’ Honest Work Just Saves ‘The Sessions’

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionE-mail page to friendE-mail page to friendPDF versionPDF version
No votes yet

CHICAGO – Sometimes an actor can deliver on so many levels at once that it makes flaws of a film easier to overlook. I’ll admit that while watching “The Sessions,” I was so caught up in the honest, true performance from the great John Hawkes that I didn’t consider many of the film’s dramatic failings until I began to consider my review. Hawkes’ work here is that good that it carries one away on a wave of emotion that dismisses critical thought. The film around him could have been better but you’re unlikely to realize that while you’re watching it.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.0/5.0
Rating: 3.0/5.0

“The Sessions” is the story of Mark O’Brien, a man with such debilitating physical handicaps that he is forced to spend a majority of his life in an iron lung. By most accounts, Mark seems to have overcome his physical issues in remarkable ways when it comes to important things like friendship, intellectual stimulation, and personal engagement. He has not, however, felt the sexual touch of another person. Naturally, this is something he’d like to do before he dies. How can one really claim to have lived a full life without knowing the intimate embrace of another?

StarRead Brian Tallerico’s full review of “The Sessions” in our reviews section.

Enter Cheryl (Helen Hunt), a sexual therapist who agrees, after much hesitation on her part, to engage Mark as a client. After getting the blessing of a thoughtful priest named Father Brendan (William H. Macy) and with the help of a supportive assistant named Vera (Moon Bloodgood), Mark and Cheryl begin to undergo “The Sessions.” The best of these physically revealing scenes have an honest intimacy that strikes one in the way that they feel they’re intruding on something deeply personal; something we “shouldn’t be watching.” The ensemble is interestingly filled out with a unique cast that includes Adam Arkin, Rhea Perlman, W. Earl Brown, and Robin Weigert (“Deadwood” fans will like seeing three stars of their fave show in one movie.)

The great John Hawkes (Oscar-nominated for “Winter’s Bone” and shoulda-been-Oscar-nominated for “Martha Marcy May Marlene”) is spectacular here, very likely earning himself another Academy Award nod. He finds such a delicacy about Mark, a man who had to have been remarkably strong just to overcome the doctor’s warnings that he would never survive as long as had but was also understandably fragile on an emotional level. I found Hawkes’ decisions to play many of his scenes with Cheryl with a heavy and believable dose of outright fear to be so right. There’s an organic honesty to Hawkes’ work here that’s heartbreaking and inspiring. He alone makes it worth seeing.

StarContinue reading for Brian Tallerico’s full “The Sessions” review.

“The Sessions” stars John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, William H. Macy, Moon Bloodgood, Annika Marks, Adam Arkin, Rhea Perlman, W. Earl Brown, and Robin Weigert. It was written and directed by Ben Lewin. It opens in Chicago on October 26, 2012.

The Sessions
The Sessions
Photo credit: Fox Searchlight

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.

Hot stories on the Web


User Login

Free Giveaway Mailing

TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with Megan Fox

    CHICAGO - Look past the cheesy carbs and b-boy poses, this shiny mo-cap reboot of cartoon juggernaut “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” offers slick entertainment that makes for a welcome surprise for middle school fare. Proving that executive producer Michael Bay has both grown up but it still frightfully in tune with what jazzes teens, this surprise box office hit is indeed a nice slice of a blockbuster spectacle, whether or not a viewer cares about the turtles or not.

  • HoliDaze Front

    CHICAGO – Need a break from the noise of the holidays? Step Up Productions, – in residence at Chicago Dramatists Theater – present “HoliDaze,” a collection of six one-act plays, all dealing with the nature and nurture of the season. The showcase runs through December 21st, 2014.

Advertisement


HollywoodChicago.com on Twitter

archive

HollywoodChicago.com Top Ten Discussions
referendum
tracker