After playing to strong reactions at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the both the Audience Award (U.S. Dramatic) and a U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Prize for Ensemble Acting, The Sessions (originally titled The Surrogate) was acquired by Fox Searchlight for distribution this fall. Searchlight, who finally achieved a Best Picture win with Slumdog Millionaire, is hoping audiences gravitate to the film which stars a pair of Oscar nominees (John Hawkes and William H. Macy) and Oscar winner Helen Hunt.
The Sessions is based on the poignantly optimistic autobiographical writings of California-based journalist and poet Mark O’Brien, and tells the story of a man (Hawkes) confined to an iron lung who is determined – at age 38 – to lose his virginity. With the help of his therapist (Hunt) and the guidance of his priest (Macy), he sets out to make his dream a reality.
No release date has been set.
The Sessions is written and directed by Ben Lewin, who previously directed the romantic comedy Paperback Romance and the drama Georgia. Actor John Hawkes has been getting strong reactions for his portrayal of Mark O’Brien and I for one am happy for him. Whenever I see him in something, be it his Oscar-nominated turn in Winter’s Bone or in HBO’s Deadwood with a pre-Justified Timothy Olyphant, the film that always pops into my head is Robert Rodriguez’s From Dusk Til Dawn, where he played the gas station clerk who meets an untimely demise at the hands of the Gekko brothers (George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino) in the introduction. So it’s great to see him go from bit player to cult leader (Martha Marcy May Marlene) to a starring role that will increase his visibility as an actor.
So does The Sessions look like more Oscar bait from Fox Searchlight, or could it very well be a sleeper hit when it gets its release during the fall/winter?
Travis Leamons is one of the Inside Pulse Originals and currently holds the position of Managing Editor at Inside Pulse Movies. He's told that the position is his until he's dead or if "The Boss" can find somebody better. I expect the best and I give the best. Here's the beer. Here's the entertainment. Now have fun. That's an order!