Blu-ray Review "The Sessions"

sessions-bluActors: John Hawkes, William H. Macy, Helen Hunt, Moon Bloodgood, Annika Marks
Director: Ben Lewin
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: February 12, 2013
Run Time: 95 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Before watching this film I knew little about it but was drawn to it by the cast.  John Hawkes and Helen Hunt give some of the best performances of the year with this little indie gem.  It is funny, yet at the same time very serious and dramatic as well.  I was just drawn to the chemistry between the two and the story was just magnetic.  Helen Hunt really gives herself to this role…completely, let’s just say.  So if you are a fan of hers get ready to see all of her.  The real shocker is where did Ben Lewin, the director, come from and how can we get him to do more?

Official Premise: Paralyzed and confined to an iron lung since childhood, poet-journalist Mark O’Brien (Hawkes) has overcome adversity time and time again. But now, at age 38, he faces his toughest challenge yet: losing his virginity. With the help of a beautiful therapist (Hunt), a sympathetic priest (Macy), and his own unbridled sense of optimism and humor, Mark embarks on an extraordinary personal journey to discover the wondrous pleasures that make life worth living.

Fox released this film with a Blu-ray + Ultraviolet Digital Copy. I am surprised that there is no DVD included also but I guess they are trying to steer away from standard definition. For a little indie pic to come out of nowhere, this 1080p transfer looks absolutely flawless and the same goes for the audio. The film is very low-key and dialogue-driven, nonetheless the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track really shines, especially with Marco Beltrami’s amazing score.

The special features are decent but run a little too short. There are two brief deleted scenes, fun but correctly removed. “Writer/Director Ben Lewin Finds Inspiration” is a brief chat about the film’s origin. “John Hawkes Becomes Mark O’Brien” features the lead actor talking about his transformation in character. “Helen Hunt as the Sex Surrogate” is the same thing but for her character. “A Session with the Cast” is a short interview with the cast. “The Women Who Loved Mark O’Brien” features the female actors talking about their relations to Mark. Lastly there is a theatrical trailer included.

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