The Sessions (2012)

The Sessions (2012)

The Sessions: A Touching and Intimate Exploration of Human Connection and Sexuality

“The Sessions” (2012), directed by Ben Lewin, is a heartfelt and intimate drama based on the real-life story of Mark O’Brien. The film delves into the complex themes of sexuality, disability, and the pursuit of emotional and physical intimacy.

Plot and Content

“The Sessions” follows the life of Mark O’Brien (John Hawkes), a poet and journalist who has spent most of his life in an iron lung due to polio. Determined to experience sexual intimacy, Mark seeks the help of a sex surrogate named Cheryl Cohen-Greene (Helen Hunt). Through a series of sessions, Mark and Cheryl form a unique and transformative connection that goes beyond physical encounters.

The film explores Mark’s journey of self-discovery, navigating his desires, limitations, and the emotional barriers he must overcome. It also delves into Cheryl’s role as a compassionate and skilled professional who guides Mark through the complexities of his sexuality. Along the way, the film addresses themes of vulnerability, acceptance, and the power of human connection.

“The Sessions” offers a sensitive and honest portrayal of the challenges faced by individuals with disabilities, while highlighting the importance of empathy, understanding, and the celebration of human sexuality.

Style and Reception

“The Sessions” is characterized by its tender and empathetic approach to its subject matter. The film presents a balanced and compassionate perspective on the complexities of sexuality, portraying the intimate moments with care and respect.

Critics praised “The Sessions” for its strong performances, particularly John Hawkes’ nuanced portrayal of Mark O’Brien and Helen Hunt’s brave and vulnerable depiction of Cheryl. The film’s delicate handling of sensitive subject matter and its exploration of human connection resonated with audiences, earning critical acclaim and multiple award nominations.


“The Sessions” offers a touching and intimate exploration of human connection, sexuality, and the pursuit of emotional fulfillment. If you appreciate thought-provoking dramas that tackle sensitive subjects with grace and sensitivity, this film provides a moving and compassionate experience that celebrates the power of empathy and genuine human connection.

Ratings: R (for strong sexuality including graphic nudity and frank dialogue)

Running time: 95 minutes

Director: Ben Lewin

Screenplay: Ben Lewin

Release Date: January 23, 2012 (Sundance Film Festival), October 19, 2012 (United States)

Genre: Drama, Biography, Romance

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