Tuesday, 8 January 2013

The Sessions (2012)

Tom:
The Sessions,2012,USA
Director: Ben Lewin
Stars: John Hawkes, Helen Hunt & William H Macy
''I believe in a God with a sense of humor. I would find it absolutely intolerable not to be to able blame someone for all this.''

I first discovered of 'The Sessions' back when I went to see 'Argo' in cinemas, the trailer played and I honesty thought it was some kind of raunchy teen comedy. I did not even recognize John Hawkes in the trailer, but when hes name popped up I knew his performance would be something special so it made me instantly want to see this film, today I finally got my chance.

Mark O'Brien is a man with an iron lung who wishes to loose his virginity before his ''used by date'', he meets a sex surrogate who attempts to fulfill his wish.

While I had some nitpicking issues with 'The Sessions' I will say that it definitely has its heart in the right place, its a film built on emotion and human contact and it usually does a good job dealing with those themes. I honestly didn't think I fully knew this was based on a true story until the end credits, because one of my complaints is that some of Mark's interactions with some side characters seem incredibly falsified. I just could not buy Mark's 'relationship' with Amanda for example, the pay off to that subplot just baffled me. With that being said, Mark's friendships with Father Brendan and Cheryl and very well done and realistic.

I can appreciate the effort of bringing a story like this to the screen but it really does not need overly sentimental moments piped in, its perfectly capable of creating an emotional connection with audiences on its own, this is a similar complaint I had to 'The Impossible' which did the same thing but on a much larger scale. This is a film that can be classed as a 'dramaedy' while its dramatic aspects are obvious, it also features a brilliantly funny side, usually steaming from Mark's views on life which I loved and I thought were portrayed terrifically by John Hawkes.

The performances in this film are generally pretty great, John Hawkes gives one of the finest performances of the year as Mark, a gutsy and bold showing that is definitely Oscar worthy. Hawkes has good support from the likes Helen Hunt, who does a really good job as Cheryl the sex surrogate, she brings a lot of heart to the role. William H Macy is a lot of fun as usual as the Priest, his interactions with John Hawkes' character are some of the best and most entertaining scenes in the film.

Overall, 'The Sessions' is a good film. I did have a couple of slight problems with the it but I was able to overcome them and enjoy this funny and heartfelt film. I can highly recommend this one just for the brilliant performance from John Hawkes, truly one of the years best.

***1/2

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