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John Hawkes has become something of a Sundance megastar, as over the past few years he has dazzled the Festival with powerful performances in such heralded and hard-hitting dramas as Winter's Bone and Martha Marcy May Marlene. In both films, the Oscar-nominated performer played figures who exuded a heady mix of danger and allure. But while Hawkes drew praise once again at this year's Sundance, it was not for playing a frightening yet enticing brute. In maybe the biggest 180 one can imagine, Hawkes took on the role of a sweet man who doesn't let being attached to an iron lung get in the way of his sexual discovery.
Bases on a remarkable true story of poet Mark O'Brien, who was left paralyzed from the neck down by polio, The Sessions--formerly known as the Six Sessions and The Surrogate--reveals the world of sex surrogacy, where a trained sex therapist facilitates or even performs sexual acts for disabled patients. Taboo terrain to be sure, but with Hawkes in the lead role, O'Brien's story could not be in better hands.
Fox Searchlight snatched up the film at Sundance, and now with it's new title in place is beginning the push for its fall release, where it will be nicely positioned to draw award season buzz for Hawkes, and possibly for his Oscar-winning co-star Helen Hunt as well. Check out the film's first trailer below:
It's a charming trailer that revels in the warmth writer-director Ben Lewin has brought to O'Brien's biopic. With the critical acclaim all ready stacking up, and a cast that boasts performers that are both talented and deeply likeable, The Sessions could well be the crowdpleaser everyone will be talking about come October.
The Sessions opens October 26th.