This movie was idling on my shelf for a couple of months because somehow the cover and story outline on the DVD did not do justice to such a strong and powerful story. The only reason I picked it up was because it starred Helen Hunt and William H Macy. Two of my favorite artistes. What really saddens me is that I nearly ended up not watching it.
“The Sessions” is a true story based on the life of Mark O Brien who can only move his head and has to live most of his life in an iron lung. What is quite amazing is that the idea for doing this movie was sparked off by a short essay he wrote.
Mark yearns to have sexual intercourse and the movie outlines how he sets about searching for it. The irony is that the person who he goes for advice is a Catholic Priest played by William H Macy who naturally has no experience about this kind of thing at all.
However he delivers this amazing line which I thought was sublime. "It's amazing to me how often God is brought into the sex act. I understand even among nonbelievers the most common expression of sexual ecstasy is, "Oh, God."
Ultimately Mark finds what he is looking for in the arms – or between the legs - of a sex surrogate played by Holly Hunt. There is more to the story but I think you should watch it. In addition to a powerful sad and shocking story the movie also features a beautiful music track which I find absolutely haunting and you have the added advantage of seeing Holly Hunt completely naked. A first for me. Now who could ask for more?
Wait but there is more.
To me the most beautiful thing about the movie is a poem which is written by Mark to Holly Hunt’s character. Who is Cheryl Cohen Green in real life and whose choice in career is quite commendable and intriguing to say the least.
I loved it first even though I thought it was written by a screen writer but now I realize that it was actually written by the real Mark O Brien which makes it even more appealing to me. I find the sentiments of using only words to touch a person’s heart quite personal as well. So here it is.
Love Poem to No One in Particular
By Mark O Brien
Let me touch you with my words
For my hands lie limp as empty gloves
Let my words stroke your hair
Slide down your back and tickle your belly
For my hands, light and free flying as bricks
Ignore my wishes and stubbornly refuse to carry out my quietest desires Let my words enter your mind bearing torches
Admit them willingly into your being
So they may caress you gently within