THE SESSIONS

Stars 4

Helen Hunt goes full frontal as a sex worker in this extremely funny and tender film of sexual healing.

Set in 1988, John Hawkes is terrific as Mark, an habitually lovestruck writer and an iron-lung living polio sufferer, whose life becomes far more interesting when he is commissioned to write a piece about the disabled and their sex lives.

His eye-opening interviews suggest that there may be a sex life available to him, and after some investigating, he hires Hunt’s sex surrogate to give him a few bedroom pointers with the ultimate aim of losing his virginity.

Their training sessions become the gateway to a world of emotions he is even less prepared for and soon Mark, a fervent catholic, is soon rushing to William H. Macy’s priest, to confess his, ahem, mounting sins.

The acting is first rate with intelligent and brave performances bringing out the humour, heartache and honesty in the clever and witty script.

Sex itself is dealt with in a matter of fact manner while those struggling with the complex emotions awakened are treated sympathetically.

Details of each characters sex life are slowly revealed and the climax of this unveiling is one of the most satisfying jokes in the movie.

Only once does the film chase a cheap laugh but as that isn’t directed at the disabled but rather the wilful ignorance of an idiot, it’s easily forgiven.

This is a powerful and touching film that never cheapens itself with false optimism or is careless with people emotions, for which Hunt was deservedly nominated for Best Supporting Actress Oscar.

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