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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Sessions

Credit: unknown
Helen Hunt, John Hawkes
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An amazing movie that I highly recommend. Based on the true life story of Mark O'Brien . A poet, journalist, and disabled man on an iron lung who does not allow this to stop his dreams...

I just watched such a beautiful movie that I felt I had to pass this on. It was not a main stream known movie, but rather an independent drama written and directed by Ben Levin. The Surrogate , debuted at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival , where it won the Audience Award (U.S. Dramatic) and a U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Prize for Ensemble Acting. It was later named The Sessions. Helen Hunt was nominated best supporting actress (2012) for her role as the sex surrogate.


Based on the true story of the life of Mark O'Brien, a journalist, poet, and advocate for the disabled . There have been two films made about his life. The first, a 1997 film called Breathing Lessons, The Life and Works of Mark O'Brien. It won an Academy Award for short documentary film. The second was The Sessions which recounted the later years of his life.


O'Brien contracted polio in 1955 and spent the rest of his life paralyzed and requiring an iron lung. This did not stop him from attending UC Berkley and producing his poetry and articles and founding a publishing house. Most of his poetry he dedicated to people with disabilities.


The Sessions starts when Mark is 38. Being on an iron lung machine from the complications of polio, he has never had sex. He proposes to Amanda, a caretaker he falls in love with. She rejects him leaving him heartbroken. He consults with his priest and confides that he wishes to lose his virginity before he dies. The priest advises him to see a therapist to talk this through. The therapist sets him up with a sexual surrogate.


I will not spoil this by telling you what happens, but it truly was a very heart warming movie...proving that love can happen in the most unlikely ways. His life was a beautiful inspiration , showing us that no matter the obstacles, a full life is possible.


Yes, it made me cry, but also I smiled knowing the beauty this man had created under such hard circumstances. I love that this is based on a true story. These were people that I truly wanted to connect to. The story is frank and honest and a reminder that living a full life is possible even under huge constraints.



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Barbara MacDonald is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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8 comments on The Sessions

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By riginal on March 18, 2013 at 11:48 pm

hear hear Barb. Saw the shorts. Inner courage just seems to transport some people beyond the physical. Nice write-up.Who needs eye drop medication when a film such as this clears the ducts?

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By Barbara MacDonald on March 19, 2013 at 08:58 am

Thank you Riginal...indeed having inner courage to rise above is a true gift in this unfair world we live in. It reminds me of something Scott Peck said in The Road Less Traveled ...the number one cause of mental issues or problems for people in dealing in this world is that they can not accept that sometimes life is just cruel and unfair..(or something to that effect) You have to move past this kind of thinking or you will always remain "wanting" and perhaps even angry ...Life is life and bad things do and can happen to good people...I say learn from it and move on. I actually now even will say thank you for sending me that lesson...(if u understand how I mean) T

hen there are people, like you say , who go beyond the physical and rise above , refusing to let life keep them down. One the reasons I loved this movie so much, I saw this in Mark O'Brien, and found it very inspiring. :-)

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By Uttam Gill on March 21, 2013 at 09:46 am

This is an excellent review…Surely Barb; this movie must be an extra ordinary wonder of celluloid excellence. And the rarity of life time happening with unique plot of extreme conflicts of existence where man against all the confirming conventions of belief, Raise to rise to address his handicap with utmost passion… The integral part about the sexual surrogate is a brave and honest attempt of a will of a man who holds a passion to challenge the convention and that’s so wonderful…More than that it is about understanding of a woman who with her intuitive and instinctive passion correlates the two souls…Which I am so sure would have ultimately turned into a love…That’s a passion of love. The true account of life where conventions are challenged makes me more inquisitive…Life is not only about convention…Life is more than that and that’s how I believe this true account of a life on celluloid screen must have stirred the heart of many viewers. And that would have made them understand that beyond conventions there is another passionate existence

The one who see certainly dare to venture beyond the conventions…Surely this movie must be a great cinematic genius of truth… which was so far unraveled.

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By Barbara MacDonald on March 21, 2013 at 10:07 am

The rebel in me, liked the rebel in him...I just I do not like complacency and respect when people look outside of their comfort zone to find what makes them fulfilled. Life dealt this man a hard place, and yet he managed to still live his dreams and although he died at age 49, he left behind many who had loved him and learned many lessons from his undefeated example...I loved this movie, and know I will watch it again just to revisit his amazing spirit. Thank you Uttam.

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By HomeRearedChef on March 22, 2013 at 02:01 pm

Thank you, dear Amiga, for the heads-up. This is a movie I definitely want to see. I already sent the link to your post to my husband. It looks like a must see movie, and, too, a tear jerker. :) ~HUGS!

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By souschef on March 22, 2013 at 03:43 pm

Really nice review!

Now you made me add aother movie to my list of "Gotta sees"!

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By Barbara MacDonald on March 22, 2013 at 04:09 pm

Thank you my friend...a dear friend of mine burnt me the movie and I fell in love with it when I watched it...so wanted to share it , thinking some of my friends might also enjoy this movie...I know you will like it... it makes u laugh and cry, and inspires u too...so all things I appreciate. hugs..

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By Barbara MacDonald on March 22, 2013 at 04:11 pm

Thank you for the visit and nice comment souschef, I think you will really enjoy it...:-)

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