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.