Lean On Me!
By ROBERT WALDMAN

Word on the street has been that nothing new ever comes out of Hollywood. Talent reigns supreme in The Sessions, a startling drama now unfolding at The Fifth Avenue Cinemas. Director and writer Ben Lewin has come up with an emotional story whose elements will grab you from start to finish.

Sex has long been a taboo subject. During The Sessions we watch first hand how the infirmed managed to “get it on” despite all odds. Convention goes out the window as we meet Mark, a middle-aged man confined to a gurney through some tragic event. Memorable indeed is the remarkable performance of John Hawkes whose character seems to have no luck with the ladies.

Every human being deserves to know pleasure and this man comes face to face with his demons whenever he meets a new lady. Women come into and out of Mark’s life as caregivers – until one day he meets Cheryl. Cast as this modern day Florence Nightingale is Helen Hunt. Compassion is Cheryl’s strong suit, along with the ability to help those with sexual difficulties. Don’t call her a prostitute, no sir. This woman is one of many professional sex therapists whose one desire is to help others in need.

Easily one of the best movies of the year, The Sessions reveals the need for sex and love and how the two can become problematic. Just 95 minutes long The Sessions also features a starring if not scene stealing role from the always reliable William H. Macy (Fargo) as Father Brendan. Like no other man of the cloth, this long-haired modern messiah spends quality time with Mark and their moments together examine the role of religion, family values and sex – adding some much needed humour to this beautifully crafted film.

Oscars will definitely be in the running for John Hawkes and Helen Hunt as we go deep inside their pent-up desires in a touching, humane way.