This is a sensitive topic, so let's get it out of the way: sex. No reason for it to be awkward or taboo, but for some reason it still is in society, and I don't actually know how far I'm allowed to push the limits here on my platform as your friendly local film coverage person, so I won't get all bawdy and perverse on you. (For that, I cannot recommend highly enough the novels of the great Henry Miller.) Let's talk about how frustrating it must be, though, to have something physically keeping you from enjoying this wonderful and natural experience. Two war stories come to mind as pertinent examples here. Recall the scene in Oliver Stone's Born on the Fourth of July in which Ron Kovic, paralyzed from the waist down after a tour of duty in Vietnam, exclaimed frustratedly about how his manhood was taken away before he even got a chance to use it, and the scene in which he breaks down in front of a prostitute. In the novel Johnny Got His Gun, the main character, Joe, has had half his body blown off in the Great War, and he likewise has, shall we say, frustrations of a sexual nature. (Of course, that was only a relatively minor concern, considering he had no arms, legs, or face – he was essentially a stump.)
Mark O'Brien, a man in an iron lung, decided to do something about it, and he wrote an essay about his quest, which was subsequently adapted into the film The Sessions, which opens today at Village 8 as part of the Louisville Exclusives series. John Hawkes plays O'Brien, the aforementioned “gimp” (his description) who, with the help of his priest (William H. Macy), makes the decision, at age 38, to lose his virginity. He hires a sex surrogate (Helen Hunt) to help with the task.
The Sessions is scheduled to play at Village 8 until Thursday, December 6, but this may be subject to extension. Village 8 is located at 4014 Dutchmans Lane. Further theater information and showtimes can be found at the Village 8 website.
Image: Internet Movie Database