"The Sessions," the Golden Globe- and Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards-nominated drama starring Helen Hunt and John Hawkes, is the first featured film in the 2013 Cinema Series at the 1891 Fredonia Opera House. It will be screened on Saturday, Jan. 5, and Tuesday, Jan. 8. As part of the Opera House's new event start times, both screenings will begin at 7:30 p.m.
Based on the poignantly optimistic autobiographical writings of California-based journalist and poet Mark O'Brien, "The Sessions" tells the story of a man (Hawkes), stricken with polio and confined to an iron lung, who is determined at age 38 to lose his virginity. With the help of his therapists and the guidance of a priest, he sets out to make his dream a reality, by hiring a sex surrogate (Hunt).
Directed by Ben Lewin, the film won both the Audience Award and the Special Jury Award for Ensemble Acting at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. Hawkes has been nominated for Best Actor and Hunt for Best Supporting Actress Golden Globe and SAG Awards. The film also stars William H. Macy as Fr. Brendan, who counsels the young man on his quest.
“The Sessions” stars Helen Hunt and John Hawkes.
Tom Long, in the Detroit News, calls the film "an absolute delight." Colin Covert, in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, calls it "a crowd-pleaser of the finest sort." Linda Barnard, in the Toronto Star, says "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." Lisa Schwarzbaum, in Entertainment Weekly, adds "'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." Rated R for strong sexuality including extensive graphic nudity and frank dialogue, "The Sessions" runs 95 minutes.
The Opera House Cinema Series is sponsored by Lake Shore Savings Bank. Tickets are available at the door for $7 (adults), $6.50 (seniors & Opera House members) and $5 (students) the night of each screening. A book of ten movie passes is available for $60 at the door, at the Box Office or online at www.fredopera.org. For more information, call the Opera House Box Office at 716-679-1891. The Series continues with "Flight," starring Denzel Washington, on Jan. 12 and 15; and "Life of Pi" on Jan. 19 and 22.
Chautauqua County's only performing arts center presenting its own programming year-round, the 1891 Fredonia Opera House is a member-supported not-for-profit organization located in Village Hall in downtown Fredonia. For a complete schedule of events, visit www.fredopera.org.