John Hawkes in The Surrogate

When you first hear that John Hawkes’ latest movie sees him playing a character whose spine has been left so curved due to a battle with polio that he’s completely immobile and even physically deformed, it sounds like it’s going to be a depressing affair. Is The Sessions one of those hand-wringing dramas that hammers home just how difficult and painful disability is, for two hours straight, and then ends on some sort of bittersweet but life-affirming moment? Not at all. Actually, from the looks of the first trailer, it seems like it’s a lot of fun:

Sure, you’ve got Hawkes tackling the character of poet Mark O’Brien with an authenticity that perhaps only he can muster, and the results are kind of difficult to watch. Word is he went as far as to physically injure himself in order to accurately portray a polio victim. But the focus of these clips isn’t on his lifelong struggle with pain and handicaps, it’s about exploration, curiosity, and reaching out and trying to embrace as much of life as one can. And seeing as all of this exploration and curiosity is of a sexual nature, well, it allows the movie to be chock full of light-hearted gags.

In addition to Hawkes being charming and relatable in the lead role, you’ve got William H. Macy nailing one liners as the too involved priest, Helen Hunt making Hawkes squirm as the too-casual sex surrogate, and Moon Bloodgood rolling her eyes as the too-sassy therapist.

The Sessions, when all is said and done, may prove to be one of the best blends of top notch, affecting acting, and silly sex humor ever put on film (besides the second American Pie movie). When it premiered at Sundance (and when it was then called The Surrogate), our own Allison Loring commented that “director Ben Lewin succeeds in crafting a film that takes on a difficult subject matter in a way that portrays even the most awkward moments with humor and honesty.”

It begins its limited release on October 26th. [Apple]

Like this article? Join thousands of your fellow movie lovers who subscribe to The Weekly Edition from Film School Rejects. Our best articles, every week, right in your inbox!
Comment Policy: No hate speech allowed. If you must argue, please debate intelligently. Comments containing selected keywords or outbound links will be put into moderation to help prevent spam. Film School Rejects reserves the right to delete comments and ban anyone who doesn't follow the rules. We also reserve the right to modify any curse words in your comments and make you look like an idiot. Thank You!
Some movie websites serve the consumer. Some serve the industry. At Film School Rejects, we serve at the pleasure of the connoisseur. We provide the best reviews, interviews and features to millions of dedicated movie fans who know what they love and love what they know. Because we, like you, simply love the art of the moving picture.
Fantastic Fest 2014
6 Filmmaking Tips: James Gunn
Got a Tip? Send it here:
Neil Miller
Managing Editor:
Scott Beggs
Associate Editors:
Rob Hunter
Kate Erbland
Christopher Campbell
All Rights Reserved © 2006-2014 Reject Media, LLC | Privacy Policy | Design & Development by Face3