The Movie: 8/10
Adventures and melodramas and action flicks have their place in my entertainment universe. They can offer some stimulation, even mental and intellectual sometimes. It’s not a tradition to give a lot of meaning to an action adventure movie with explosions and chases and violence. It can happen and does sometimes which is cool with me. The truth is when people like me, who do truly get lost in drama, human interaction, talking, thinking, feeling, all this fills about 90% of my movie loving self. The other 10% is for those adventures, and explosions, and pure fantasy.
A movie like The Sessions is all about people, talking, feeling, human interaction. This story is about a man living in the wake of childhood polio, living in a world designed for people who can move and walk and stand and have sex as these human bodies evolved to make it happen. It’s got so many other questions than “how can a man who can’t move have sex?”. What role does sex really play in our lives? What does it mean to be that physical with another human when we are not making another human? Why do we sell ourselves and all generations on the fantasy of what sex is actually about? What happens when someone like Mark O’Brien, 38 years old, unable to move from the neck down, somewhat sheltered in life with heavy religious and family dynamics at play, decides he wants that elusive sensation of having sex with a woman? This is the kind of digging that I like to see explored on a screen while I sit comfortably in my cozy chair, fully aware that I do not have that particular life element to cope with or fold into my own life.
I liked The Sessions a lot. I didn’t LOVE LOVE it. It’s charming and sweet and challenging at times. I appreciate everyone in the cast, particularly John Hawkes. He’s never not got my attention. OK, my laptop just did it’s trick of skipping my cursor, deleting an ENTIRE flipping paragraph…ugh.
It might be a good thing to distill my thoughts more, so fair enough. The Sessions is human and thought-provoking and introduced me to Mark O’Brien, so I might just explore some poetry. That is more than most movies do.
Overall I would say that even though I’m not gushing about The Sessions, that’s not to say it’s not a truly top quality movie, compelling story, beautifully performed story. It’s just that the subtly of it isn’t an explosion….it’s more of a squiggly thing in my eye that fascinates me whenever it appears.
- Deleted Scenes – 3 deleted scenes which would feel out-of-place in the movie. Hence the reason they are deleted scenes.
- Ben Lewin Finds Inspiration – An interview with the Director, unfortunately it comes across as one of those EPK featurettes.
- John Hawkes Becomes Mark O’Brien – Another EPK style featurette which explains the method acting of John Hawkes.
- Helen Hunt As The Sex Surrogate – I wish these featurettes were better but this is what we got. Helen Hunt explains her transformation into a Sex Surrogate.
- A Session With The Cast – A 3 minute featurette which is essentially a synopsis of the plot.
- DVD & UV Digital Copy
Cover Art and Menus: 4/10
The cover is boring, therefore I would not have it as a poster, of course. The menu is kind of artsy, so it’s fun, but really just dressed up navigation.
Audio & Video: 8/10
The sessions is a great looking 1080P AVC encode that fills the whole of your widescreen display. Shot digitally using the Red One camera the movie has a great level of detail and amazing clarity. The whole movie is bathed in a beautful red/orange hue almost like it was all filmed during magic hour. You will be hard pressed to find any faults here with Fox’s great transfer.
The sessions is a dialog driven film with very little music used throughout. The lossless DTS-HD master Audio 5.1 track is quite subdued and quiet in parts. Rear speakers hardly ever come to life but the dialog which is most important here is sharp and never muffled.
Renting The Sessions would be my recommendation to start. It’s an excellent film, moving story, with all the normal trappings of a quality independent project. If you LOVE it, go ahead and buy it but it will cost you about 20 bucks. I would rather watch it once for about $4 and have the other $16 for other stuff like my internet bill.
Overall Score 8/10