Sessions, The: Based on a True Story

The Sessions is the true story of poet and journalist Mark O’Brien who, at the unlikely age of 38, sets out to lose his virginity – under rather challenging circumstances.  Veteran actor John Hawkes plays O’Brien in a powerful performance that transcends the physical limitations of the role.

The film, which world-premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Fest as “The Surrogate,” will be released by Fox Searchlight in early October.

Having survived a bout of childhood polio, O’Brien spends a significant part of his time in an  iron lung for all but a few hours each week. Most would have difficulty imagining that he could lead an ordinary love life — but not being ordinary did not stop Mark. Ferreting out the humor, optimism and even faith from his tricky situation, Mark is determined to taste all he possibly can of life, including the emotional and physical pleasures that had eluded him. So, he makes the bold decision to stop dreaming of love and hire a pro: a sex surrogate who can give him a chance at experiencing intimacy in his own inimitable way.


The funny, moving and life-changing set of lessons that ensues in these surrogate sessions became the topic of O’Brien’s 1990 article “On Seeing a Sex Surrogate,” which he published in the literary magazine The Sun.  The article broke wide open the taboo of talking publicly about sex and disability, but did it in such an honest, witty and warm way that it seemed anyone, no matter who they were, could relate.


One person who related to O’Brien’s story on an especially personal level was filmmaker Ben Lewin.  Like O’Brien, Lewin had contracted polio as a child.  Like O’Brien, it didn’t keep him from a successful career.  When Lewin stumbled upon O’Brien’s sex surrogate article on the internet, he felt it could be the basis of a film. Was it possible to make a dynamic, relatable and even deeply moving film about a man with a significant disability? Taking his cue from O’Brien’s writing, Lewin envisioned something humor-filled and unsentimentally true to life. He saw the script as not just about a guy’s middle-aged quest to end his virginity but about how a man comes to terms with his body, his manhood and the full measure of what makes a life worth living.


Lewin then brought this unusual tale to life with a devoted cast in roles unlike any on screen – with John Hawkes portraying O’Brien, Helen Hunt taking on Cheryl Cohen Greene, and William H. Macy as the priest who lends Mark his blessing, and his ear, as he attempts to explore life’s mysteries.  The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, where it took home the coveted Audience Award and the Jury Prize for ensemble cast.


Ben Lewin says he always saw THE SESSIONS as a love story – albeit a different kind from any most people have ever seen.  “It doesn’t follow the usual blueprint of love stories,” he admits.  “But I felt if I could do with the film what Mark had done to me with the power and authenticity of his writing, that would be something.  I think his story is something genuinely unexpected.”


While Lewin’s own experience with polio gave him an authentic perspective, he says his first loyalty was to getting O’Brien’s razor-sharp and lyrical voice on the screen. “I was also in an iron lung when I first contracted polio, but I don’t remember the experience,” the writer-director explains.  “Gradually I recovered the use of my upper body and some use of my lower limbs. I think Mark’s emotional journey was unique to him and, at the same time, I think it will be relatable to many people.”


Since O’Brien himself passed away in 1999 at the age of 49, Lewin relied on his writings, interviews and also on O’Brien’s eventual life partner, Susan Fernbach — whom O’Brien met after Cheryl Cohen Greene.  Together they created a rich, life-like portrait of a man known for his biting honesty and his sharp self-depreciating wit.


“Susan was my major window into who Mark was, and was a kind of soul mate for me as the script and film progressed,” says Lewin.  “She gave me a lot of insight into Mark and related many funny and harrowing events that actually happened to him.  Things like the fact that the cat would sometimes brush past his nose and make him itch insufferably – that was from real life,” comments Lewin.  “And Cheryl did take a mirror into one of her sessions and say to him ‘This is your body.’  When the power cuts out on his iron lung, that is also true.  It seems these might be made up for dramatic purposes, but they’re not.  It was just a matter of figuring out where these real events would work best in the narrative.”

As he wrote, Lewin also got to know Cheryl Cohen Greene, the woman who grew to admire O’Brien as she dove into new territory with him in their sessions: Cohen Greene was direct and open with the writer/director. “The first meeting with Cheryl was a crucial event. At one point, she asked if I minded if she referred to her notes,” Lewin recalls.  “‘Notes?’ I thought. They were the notes of a clinical therapist, not of a sex worker. For the first time, I had an insight into what a fascinating person she was.”


He continues:  “She really helped to transform the movie from what could have been a biopic into the story of relationships.  Having her side of the story was a real treasure because it became a journey for two people.”


To join these two real-life characters who so profoundly touched one another’s lives, Lewin invented a third – Father Brendan, a fictional parish priest who is based on the reality that O’Brien was a practicing Catholic who, in his angst over the moral predicament of his virginity, consulted several priests, at least one of whom recommended that he have sex.  “Religion was a fundamental part of Mark’s life, and I felt it was important to reflect that, as well as his idea that sex had a spiritual dimension,” says Lewin.  “It’s also true that he had several close relationships with priests.”


O’Brien’s engaging descriptions of his sessions undoubtedly came in part from his expressive side as a poet and Lewin wanted to capture this on screen.  Lewin opens the movie with an O’Brien poem about the act of breathing, which helps to drop the audience into his exceptional reality.  “Breathing was a very important aspect of Mark’s life, which is something everyone else takes for granted,” notes Lewin.


Lewin began working with Such Much Films producer Judi Levine–who also happens to be his wife–to find support in the filmmaking world.  As Levine watched the screenplay develop, she was sure it would inspire others.  “The film works on several levels — as the story of a guy who wants to lose his virginity, as a story that shows how much people are capable of enduring and as a story about what it’s like to have that first experience of sex, no matter who you are… I think that’s why the audiences who have seen it so far have universally responded to it,” she says.


Producer Stephen Nemeth, head of Rhino Films, also had a visceral emotional response to the script.  “I fell in love,” he summarizes.  “I’ve always been intrigued by Ben Lewin’s intellect and his wicked sense of humor, and that is what he brought to this story.  It is a story that could easily have been maudlin, but he nailed it tonally in all the right ways.  The story has some tragedy, but you don’t feel sorry for anyone.  The story is also hysterically funny, but it’s not quite a comedy.  It’s a story about perceived underdogs and it is unexpectedly triumphant.”


xosotin chelseathông tin chuyển nhượngcâu lạc bộ bóng đá arsenalbóng đá atalantabundesligacầu thủ haalandUEFAevertonxosokeonhacaiketquabongdalichthidau7m.newskqbdtysokeobongdabongdalufutebol ao vivofutemaxmulticanaisonbetbsport.fitonbet88.oooi9bet.bizhi88.ooookvip.atf8bet.atfb88.cashvn88.cashshbet.atbóng đá world cupbóng đá inter milantin juventusbenzemala ligaclb leicester cityMUman citymessi lionelsalahnapolineymarpsgronaldoserie atottenhamvalenciaAS ROMALeverkusenac milanmbappenapolinewcastleaston villaliverpoolfa cupreal madridpremier leagueAjaxbao bong da247EPLbarcelonabournemouthaff cupasean footballbên lề sân cỏbáo bóng đá mớibóng đá cúp thế giớitin bóng đá ViệtUEFAbáo bóng đá việt namHuyền thoại bóng đágiải ngoại hạng anhSeagametap chi bong da the gioitin bong da lutrận đấu hôm nayviệt nam bóng đátin nong bong daBóng đá nữthể thao 7m24h bóng đábóng đá hôm naythe thao ngoai hang anhtin nhanh bóng đáphòng thay đồ bóng đábóng đá phủikèo nhà cái onbetbóng đá lu 2thông tin phòng thay đồthe thao vuaapp đánh lô đềdudoanxosoxổ số giải đặc biệthôm nay xổ sốkèo đẹp hôm nayketquaxosokq xskqxsmnsoi cầu ba miềnsoi cau thong kesxkt hôm naythế giới xổ sốxổ số 24hxo.soxoso3mienxo so ba mienxoso dac bietxosodientoanxổ số dự đoánvé số chiều xổxoso ket quaxosokienthietxoso kq hôm nayxoso ktxổ số megaxổ số mới nhất hôm nayxoso truc tiepxoso ViệtSX3MIENxs dự đoánxs mien bac hom nayxs miên namxsmientrungxsmn thu 7con số may mắn hôm nayKQXS 3 miền Bắc Trung Nam Nhanhdự đoán xổ số 3 miềndò vé sốdu doan xo so hom nayket qua xo xoket qua xo so.vntrúng thưởng xo sokq xoso trực tiếpket qua xskqxs 247số miền nams0x0 mienbacxosobamien hôm naysố đẹp hôm naysố đẹp trực tuyếnnuôi số đẹpxo so hom quaxoso ketquaxstruc tiep hom nayxổ số kiến thiết trực tiếpxổ số kq hôm nayso xo kq trực tuyenkết quả xổ số miền bắc trực tiếpxo so miền namxổ số miền nam trực tiếptrực tiếp xổ số hôm nayket wa xsKQ XOSOxoso onlinexo so truc tiep hom nayxsttso mien bac trong ngàyKQXS3Msố so mien bacdu doan xo so onlinedu doan cau loxổ số kenokqxs vnKQXOSOKQXS hôm naytrực tiếp kết quả xổ số ba miềncap lo dep nhat hom naysoi cầu chuẩn hôm nayso ket qua xo soXem kết quả xổ số nhanh nhấtSX3MIENXSMB chủ nhậtKQXSMNkết quả mở giải trực tuyếnGiờ vàng chốt số OnlineĐánh Đề Con Gìdò số miền namdò vé số hôm nayso mo so debach thủ lô đẹp nhất hôm naycầu đề hôm naykết quả xổ số kiến thiết toàn quốccau dep 88xsmb rong bach kimket qua xs 2023dự đoán xổ số hàng ngàyBạch thủ đề miền BắcSoi Cầu MB thần tàisoi cau vip 247soi cầu tốtsoi cầu miễn phísoi cau mb vipxsmb hom nayxs vietlottxsmn hôm naycầu lô đẹpthống kê lô kép xổ số miền Bắcquay thử xsmnxổ số thần tàiQuay thử XSMTxổ số chiều nayxo so mien nam hom nayweb đánh lô đề trực tuyến uy tínKQXS hôm nayxsmb ngày hôm nayXSMT chủ nhậtxổ số Power 6/55KQXS A trúng roycao thủ chốt sốbảng xổ số đặc biệtsoi cầu 247 vipsoi cầu wap 666Soi cầu miễn phí 888 VIPSoi Cau Chuan MBđộc thủ desố miền bắcthần tài cho sốKết quả xổ số thần tàiXem trực tiếp xổ sốXIN SỐ THẦN TÀI THỔ ĐỊACầu lô số đẹplô đẹp vip 24hsoi cầu miễn phí 888xổ số kiến thiết chiều nayXSMN thứ 7 hàng tuầnKết quả Xổ số Hồ Chí Minhnhà cái xổ số Việt NamXổ Số Đại PhátXổ số mới nhất Hôm Nayso xo mb hom nayxxmb88quay thu mbXo so Minh ChinhXS Minh Ngọc trực tiếp hôm nayXSMN 88XSTDxs than taixổ số UY TIN NHẤTxs vietlott 88SOI CẦU SIÊU CHUẨNSoiCauVietlô đẹp hôm nay vipket qua so xo hom naykqxsmb 30 ngàydự đoán xổ số 3 miềnSoi cầu 3 càng chuẩn xácbạch thủ lônuoi lo chuanbắt lô chuẩn theo ngàykq xo-solô 3 càngnuôi lô đề siêu vipcầu Lô Xiên XSMBđề về bao nhiêuSoi cầu x3xổ số kiến thiết ngày hôm nayquay thử xsmttruc tiep kết quả sxmntrực tiếp miền bắckết quả xổ số chấm vnbảng xs đặc biệt năm 2023soi cau xsmbxổ số hà nội hôm naysxmtxsmt hôm nayxs truc tiep mbketqua xo so onlinekqxs onlinexo số hôm nayXS3MTin xs hôm nayxsmn thu2XSMN hom nayxổ số miền bắc trực tiếp hôm naySO XOxsmbsxmn hôm nay188betlink188 xo sosoi cầu vip 88lô tô việtsoi lô việtXS247xs ba miềnchốt lô đẹp nhất hôm naychốt số xsmbCHƠI LÔ TÔsoi cau mn hom naychốt lô chuẩndu doan sxmtdự đoán xổ số onlinerồng bạch kim chốt 3 càng miễn phí hôm naythống kê lô gan miền bắcdàn đề lôCầu Kèo Đặc Biệtchốt cầu may mắnkết quả xổ số miền bắc hômSoi cầu vàng 777thẻ bài onlinedu doan mn 888soi cầu miền nam vipsoi cầu mt vipdàn de hôm nay7 cao thủ chốt sốsoi cau mien phi 7777 cao thủ chốt số nức tiếng3 càng miền bắcrồng bạch kim 777dàn de bất bạion newsddxsmn188betw88w88789bettf88sin88suvipsunwintf88five8812betsv88vn88Top 10 nhà cái uy tínsky88iwinlucky88nhacaisin88oxbetm88vn88w88789betiwinf8betrio66rio66lucky88oxbetvn88188bet789betMay-88five88one88sin88bk88xbetoxbetMU88188BETSV88RIO66ONBET88188betM88M88SV88Jun-68Jun-88one88iwinv9betw388OXBETw388w388onbetonbetonbetonbet88onbet88onbet88onbet88onbetonbetonbetonbetqh88mu88Nhà cái uy tínpog79vp777vp777vipbetvipbetuk88uk88typhu88typhu88tk88tk88sm66sm66me88me888live8live8livesm66me88win798livesm66me88win79pog79pog79vp777vp777uk88uk88tk88tk88luck8luck8kingbet86kingbet86k188k188hr99hr99123b8xbetvnvipbetsv66zbettaisunwin-vntyphu88vn138vwinvwinvi68ee881xbetrio66zbetvn138i9betvipfi88clubcf68onbet88ee88typhu88onbetonbetkhuyenmai12bet-moblie12betmoblietaimienphi247vi68clupcf68clupvipbeti9betqh88onb123onbefsoi cầunổ hũbắn cáđá gàđá gàgame bàicasinosoi cầuxóc đĩagame bàigiải mã giấc mơbầu cuaslot gamecasinonổ hủdàn đềBắn cácasinodàn đềnổ hũtài xỉuslot gamecasinobắn cáđá gàgame bàithể thaogame bàisoi cầukqsssoi cầucờ tướngbắn cágame bàixóc đĩa开云体育开云体育开云体育乐鱼体育乐鱼体育乐鱼体育亚新体育亚新体育亚新体育爱游戏爱游戏爱游戏华体会华体会华体会IM体育IM体育沙巴体育沙巴体育PM体育PM体育AG尊龙AG尊龙AG尊龙AG百家乐AG百家乐AG百家乐AG真人AG真人<AG真人<皇冠体育皇冠体育PG电子PG电子万博体育万博体育KOK体育KOK体育欧宝体育江南体育江南体育江南体育半岛体育半岛体育半岛体育凯发娱乐凯发娱乐杏彩体育杏彩体育杏彩体育FB体育PM真人PM真人<米乐娱乐米乐娱乐天博体育天博体育开元棋牌开元棋牌j9九游会j9九游会开云体育AG百家乐AG百家乐AG真人AG真人爱游戏华体会华体会im体育kok体育开云体育开云体育开云体育乐鱼体育乐鱼体育欧宝体育ob体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育开云体育开云体育棋牌棋牌沙巴体育买球平台新葡京娱乐开云体育mu88qh88