by Jim Ridley
One of the most acclaimed films out of this year's Sundance almost slipped out of Nashville theaters; The Belcourt picked it up. It's The Sessions, writer-director Ben Lewin's sex-surrogate comedy-drama, which Scott Wilson praises in the current Scene:
Mark O'Brien spent most of his short life reliant on an iron lung, his body stilled by polio while his mind probed spiritual matters. He went to college. He wrote poetry and published nonfiction. And as writer-director Ben Lewin shows us in his concise, moving The Sessions, he sought a late understanding of love. In lesser hands, The Sessions — based on O'Brien's magazine story "On Seeing a Sex Surrogate," chronicling the loss of his virginity — might have been a franker than usual Hallmark Hall of Fame movie. But Lewin's wry, matter-of-fact drama is instead a smartly acted greeting card to intimacy. John Hawkes gives an astounding, full-body performance from the neck up, and he gets strong support from Helen Hunt, William H. Macy and Moon Bloodgood.