I saw a really great movie this afternoon–“The Sessions.” If it comes to your town, it will be at the local arty movie theater. It’s not a blockbuster by any stretch. But the emotions it raises are both quiet and profound. Here’s a link to the Rotten Tomatoes review: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_sessions/
It’s based on the real story of Mark O’Brien, a man who was stricken with polio as a six-year-old child, and had to spend the majority of each day in an iron lung, since his muscles were paralyzed. His parents refused to give up on him and cared for him at home. He went to college and became a poet and journalist, moving into an apartment of his own. In the movie he knew he was approaching his “use-by” date, and he wanted to lose his virginity, and experience what that meant. So he consulted with his priest (he was a devout Catholic) and hired a sexual surrogate.
The amazing thing is, the movie is not really about sex. It’s about intimacy, and pleasure, and caring. And, ultimately, it’s about the need for love, much more than the need for sex.
Helen Hunt as the sexual surrogate plays her as a complete professional who just wants to help him as far as her role permits, no more. But even for a professional, emotions have a way of coming in.
It was the most human and humane movie I’ve seen in a long time–caring, nonjudgmental, and, ultimately, loving. In a time when sex seems to have been downgraded to reality TV and stupid, uncaring behavior, it’s reassuring to see two adults who aren’t beautiful (although Helen Hunt is still lovely), or vampires, or drunk on the Jersey Shore, being intimate and kind.