The Sessions Reviews

Top Critic
Guy Lodge
Time Out
January 15, 2013
Lewin, who has fought his own lifelong polio battle, handles tricky material with a gentle, empathetic touch.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
January 8, 2013
Thanks to Lewin's light but assured touch, The Sessions never wears its theological preoccupations heavily, instead allowing transcendence to creep up on the audience quietly.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Tom Charity
CNN.com
January 4, 2013
A very different kind of love story, breaking taboos lightly, with sensitivity and humor.
Top Critic
Ian Buckwalter
The Atlantic
November 23, 2012
Achieves its sunny disposition by pulling punches.
Full Review | Original Score: 5.8/10
Top Critic
Rafer Guzman
Newsday
November 8, 2012
A funny, tender and mostly unsentimentalized movie about physical and emotional triumph.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Tom Long
Detroit News
November 2, 2012
An absolute delight.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
November 1, 2012
Forced to do all his acting with his face, Hawkes displays the kind of camera-arresting capability that has earned others Oscar nominations.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
November 1, 2012
This is a crowd-pleaser of the finest sort.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
November 1, 2012
It's really a three-character comedy/drama, with the best elements of both genres.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
November 1, 2012
Using only his tilted head, his eyes, nose, and mouth and that quizzical voice, Hawkes brings O'Brien to life.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
November 1, 2012
With its assertive hero and inclusive humor, "The Sessions" is an inspirational drama you can feel good about in the morning.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
November 1, 2012
It's funny and well-meaning, with great performances, but the story plays out more like an Afterschool Special with full-frontal nudity.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
Top Critic
Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
October 26, 2012
Most often with The Sessions the blunt comedy outweighs the drift toward sanctimony.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
October 25, 2012
It sends viewers out of the theater with a heightened sense of the physical and a real feeling for all the things that sex means in human life.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
October 25, 2012
The achievement of this simply told, exceptionally fine film is the clarity with which it portrays the drama of a good soul in an inert body.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
October 25, 2012
Hawkes' performance is the must-see hook of The Sessions, but Hunt gives this funny, touching movie its soul.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
October 25, 2012
Character actor John Hawkes is often cast as a frightening rustic (Winter's Bone, Martha Marcy May Marlene), but he gives a tender and witty performance here as Mark O'Brien.
Top Critic
Linda Barnard
Toronto Star
October 25, 2012
The joy of The Sessions goes beyond sexual healing. It makes physical intimacy far more a matter of the heart, and you won't be alone wiping an occasional tear.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
October 25, 2012
O'Brien was the subject of an Oscar-winning short "Breathing Lessons," and it seems likely that "The Sessions" will receive a few nominations of its own. It deserves them.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
October 25, 2012
This film rebukes and corrects countless brainless and cheap sex scenes in other movies. It's a reminder that we must be kind to one another.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
David Denby
New Yorker
October 22, 2012
The movie is so clammily sensitive and tame that it stifles any strong response.
Top Critic
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
October 19, 2012
The Sessions is bracing. It's also one of the few movies to recognize that people with severe physical disabilities have sexual lives, too.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
Andrew O'Hehir
Salon.com
October 19, 2012
A sweet but minor fictional parable about the strange possibilities of love.
Top Critic
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
October 19, 2012
A movie like this is really built around a performance, and John Hawkes - so powerfully evil in "Winter's Bone" and "Martha Marcy May Marlene" - carries the film.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Lou Lumenick
New York Post
October 19, 2012
"The Sessions'' treats intimacy with an explicitness and honesty that's very rare in movies.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
October 18, 2012
"The Sessions" is admirable, and often enjoyable, yet self-limiting in concept. It's exactly about what it sets out to be about-no less but no more.
Top Critic
Dana Stevens
Slate
October 18, 2012
This frank, funny, tender film both asks and receives more from its sex scenes than any movie I've seen in a long time.
Top Critic
Betsy Sharkey
Los Angeles Times
October 18, 2012
In a country that embraces cinematic violence with such ease but blushingly prefers to keep sex in the shadows or under the sheets, the grown-up approach of "The Sessions" is rare.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Stephen Holden
New York Times
October 18, 2012
"The Sessions" is a pleasant shock: a touching, profoundly sex-positive film that equates sex with intimacy, tenderness and emotional connection instead of performance, competition and conquest.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Alonso Duralde
TheWrap
October 18, 2012
Avoids the kind of squickyness that Hollywood usually drizzles over its uplifting movies about the physically challenged.
Top Critic
October 18, 2012
For once in an American movie, the uplift feels earned.
Top Critic
Claudia Puig
USA Today
October 18, 2012
A moving tale with wryly funny moments.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
October 18, 2012
John Hawkes does the kind of acting that awards were invented for in this exhilarating gift of a movie that's funny, touching and vital.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
October 18, 2012
It's strange to call a film with so much nudity and simulated sex "old-fashioned," but "The Sessions" nicely bridges that gulf.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Glenn Kenny
MSN Movies
October 18, 2012
"The movie is neither short of, nor in the least bit coy about, sex and sex talk. It treats and presents both in a way that is entirely candid, frank ..."
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
Top Critic
Tasha Robinson
AV Club
October 18, 2012
In Ben Lewin's The Sessions, John Hawkes takes on the kind of role that earns Academy Awards, in the kind of film that doesn't.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Top Critic
October 17, 2012
This is either a delicate subject or an unapologetically vital one, and the key to "The Sessions" is that [Ben] Lewin treats it as the latter.
Top Critic
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
October 17, 2012
The Sessions becomes a dance of joy in the midst of severe challenge, and a movie with a light spirit that lifts a tale of heavy fate.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
Rex Reed
New York Observer
October 17, 2012
The Sessions is fascinating, informative, engaging and heartbreaking stuff.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Melissa Anderson
Village Voice
October 16, 2012
Hawkes and Hunt nobly tackle the physical demands their roles require ...
Top Critic
Joshua Rothkopf
Time Out
October 16, 2012
It's an adult movie about an adult subject that upends the conventions of the sex comedy by investing them with solemn purpose. Fortunately, that turns out to be pretty funny in itself.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Christy Lemire
Associated Press
October 16, 2012
It has some difficult and heartfelt performances as well as moments of uncomfortable honesty, but ultimately writer-director Ben Lewin's film feels too slight, too pat, and too wildly overhyped out of its festival showings.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
David Edelstein
New York Magazine/Vulture
October 15, 2012
It lacks the fullness of the best films of its ilk, chief among them Jim Sheridan's My Left Foot. But Lewin lets his eye wander pleasingly.
Top Critic
September 9, 2012
The Sessions is probably the most lighthearted movie about sex and polio you'll see this year.
Top Critic
Nathan Rabin
AV Club
January 25, 2012
It might just be the most poignant, moving film ever made about one man's surprisingly noble efforts to get laid.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
Top Critic
Todd McCarthy
Hollywood Reporter
January 24, 2012
At once entirely frank and downright cuddly in the way it deals with the seldom-visited subject of the sex lives of people with disabilities...
Top Critic
Peter Debruge
Variety
January 24, 2012
A film of tenderness and humor married to the unlikeliest of subjects.