Generally favorable reviews - based on 39 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 65 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: The Sessions tells the story of a man confined to an iron lung who is determined at age 38 to lose his virginity. With the help of his therapists and the guidance of his priest, he sets out to make his dream a reality. (Fox Searchlight)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 36 out of 39
  2. Negative: 0 out of 39
  1. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Nov 16, 2012
    The result is a human drama that quietly argues that the gift of life isn't one to be taken lightly.
  2. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    Nov 1, 2012
    John Hawkes has, until now, been known primarily as the skilled character actor who brought an earthy authenticity to roles on TV's "Deadwood" and the Oscar-nominated "Winter's Bone." With The Sessions, he makes his mark as a bona fide member of screen acting's elite. And he does it while barely moving a muscle.
  3. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Oct 25, 2012
    John Hawkes is wonderful as O'Brien, as is Helen Hunt as the surrogate whose sessions with O'Brien form the crux of the film. The results are extremely moving and, in general, low on egregiously yanked heartstrings or the usual biopic filler.
  4. Reviewed by: Ray Greene
    Oct 13, 2012
    The emotional journey is articulated with so much nuance, and such a vigorous belief in human possibility, that everything The Surrogate touches becomes its own, and is made new.
  5. Reviewed by: Ellen E. Jones
    Oct 17, 2012
    Aided by committed, awards-ready performance, The Sessions transforms 'taboo' subject matter into a humorous, humane and uncomplicated pleasure.
  6. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Oct 25, 2012
    The Sessions is moving. At times, it's even erotic, which is unexpected, to say the least. It sends viewers out of the theater with a heightened sense of the physical and a real feeling for all the things that sex means in human life.
  7. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Oct 18, 2012
    It's strange to call a film with so much nudity and simulated sex "old-fashioned," but The Sessions nicely bridges that gulf.

See all 39 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 26
  2. Negative: 1 out of 26
  1. Dec 20, 2012
    If you are avoiding this movie because it's about a man in an iron lung and a sex therapist, don't. It has everything--humor, intelligence, and universality. The writing has not one false note. And if I ever see a performance as superb as Helen Hunt's, it will probably be given by Helen Hunt. Expand
  2. Nov 1, 2012
    An excellent film handled with respect and grace. If it weren't based on a true story, I might have wished for a bit more struggle on behalf of the Catholic Priest - something closer to that of the priest in Million Dollar Baby. Then again, killing someone (euthanasia) is much more serious in the Church's eyes than extra-marital sex. It just seemed a bit like William H. Macy's character went a bit beyond his role and became a bit too much of a rooting friend - can't see it happening in life. But aside from this, I just loved the film. Helen Hunt is fantastic, and Hawkes doesn't disappoint - he's still one of the most underrated and under-praised actors in the biz. Expand
  3. Apr 14, 2013
    How John Hawkes didn't get nominated for best actor I don't know. The Sessions is everything you want in a movie. The acting is superb with a sense of great emotions from tears to laughter. Expand
  4. Nov 17, 2012
    Moving is "The Sessions," even erotic at times, an unexpected development. Viewers exit the theater with a greater sense for all the things that sex means in human life. Expand
  5. Aug 2, 2013
    The Sessions is a great indie film that maturely explores topics of sexuality, with a focus on disability. Based on a true story, as often films like this are, it is truly mind boggling once one realises how ability and disability shape our lives in a lot of ways, and that is exactly what The Sessions brings out.
    The screenplay is well written, but it is based on the actual work by Mark O'Brien (portrayed by the excellent John Hawkes). I was one of the rare people who was not surprised in the least with Hawkes' Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for "Winter's Bone" since I believed his performance was superior to that of Jennifer Lawrence. Yet again, he has proven me right. Exquisite, nuanced performance that comes to life out of his eyes. Simply amazing. Helen Hunt, who received a Oscar nomination for portraying the sex therapist O'Brien sees, is also a revelation. A very mature, down-to-earth, "real" performance. She doesn't overact or overly dramatise any single moment. Even her breakdown scene is rather demure and feels incredibly real.

    The performances were definitely the highlight of the film, and they truly made the story come to life in the best possible way. Some people might not like the story itself, but that is another issue. I have to give credit where credit is due, though: very few American films deal head-on with sex and sexuality, yet alone for non-mainstream sexuality, such as heterosexual, able-ist and marriage-bound. Sex and sexuality have been European cinema's turf for the longest time, and it is very nice to see filmmakers trying to grapple with it, and actually managing quite successfully. I'd highly recommend this film to anyone. Inspiring and thought provoking, with excellent performances a must see!
  6. Feb 14, 2013
    A brave film with truly remarkable performance from John Hawkes who continues to impress in his recent outings. And he does it while barely moving a muscle. Helen Hunt bares all (literally and otherwise) in a film that has poses philosophical questions on social and emotional levels. However, if you peel away the memorable performances, there is little else to say about the film. Expand
  7. Feb 23, 2013
    The sessions is the closest thing to a porn movie you can get without calling it porn. The movie is a sad film but the true saddest is that nothing sticks and the characters are extremely dull. Forgettable and not worth caring about. Expand

See all 26 User Reviews