Sunday, November 18, 2012

THE SESSIONS - sex for sale

The Sessions is the current indie fave and it's not hard to see why. 

I haven't seen Helen Hunt on screen for a while and although she looks odd through most of the film, she gives a very real and engaging performance. She looks beautiful one minute and like an anorexic skeleton the next. Maybe she had weird dieting habits before the film—she does get fully nude multiple times! Jeff Hawkes has become the quintessential character actor and everywhere man. I'll bet you have seen him in something before, you just might not be able to remember where. He's great and always brings some levity to the screen. William H. Macy tends to constantly be a treat as well. 

The story follows a man in his late thirties that is confined to an iron lung for most of the 24 day, owing to a hapless crippling of childhood polio. He would like to experience a sexual encounter but can't move anything but his head. This is a bit of a problem. Yet women seem to like him because of his endless joviality and charisma. Sex surrogate to the rescue!

The uniqueness of this movie lies in the subject matter. Sex surrogation. Essentially, a woman has decided to become a sex therapist vocationally but feels the most impactful way of helping men will be to physically engage in sex with them—for money. Is this just intellectual prostitution? I might have been tempted to say yes if I hadn't seen a documentary a few years back, directed by the gifted Kirby Dick, about this very subject. These women really want to help certain men overcome their own emotional stigmas, anxieties and problems with intercourse. The obvious problem is that these diffident men don't have control of their feelings like the surrogate who can just laterally sequester them despite the terse six session maximum. I don't have any answers and although I admire the courage of these women—ultimately, the act probably carries more trouble than its worth. Maybe I should seek out some evidence for myself ;) 

Recommended Viewing: Me And You And Everyone We Know - The Waterdance - Private Practices

              Bob Scale: The Critic: 8.2   -   The Fan: 8.4
             MetaCritic: 80
 Rotten Tomatoes: 95
                    IMDB: 7.3

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