seen @ Kew Gardens Cinemas, Kew Gardens, Queens, NY
I didn't expect to relate as much to John Hawkes' character Mark in The Sessions as much as I did... but I did. I'm well aware of my own un-sexiness. The way I see myself in my head never quite lines up with the way I look in reality, but at the same time, I like to believe that my looks are not a great impediment when it comes to attracting a woman.
I'm fat, yes, but not disgustingly so. I've worn glasses most of my life, but I've always avoided the super-nerdy kind. In recent years, I've taken to shaving my head, and I think I look better bald than with hair. I do my best to try to keep up an inner image of myself as, if not totally handsome, then at least passable. But then I see a picture of myself and that image gets shot to hell. It's an ongoing process, what can I say... but at least it's one I haven't given up on. Maybe it's the stubborn romantic in me.
Still, it could be worse. At least I'm not immobilized within an iron lung. I think what can be taken away from The Sessions, more than anything else, is that no matter who you are or what you look like, everyone wants love, and to be loved. It's so easy to forget that, though, because most of us rarely look deeper than the surface when dealing with someone. (That said, I still found Helen Hunt's Botoxed face to be a great distraction. It's really unfortunate that she felt the need to do that.)
I expected this to be a bit more of a comedy than it actually is (though not necessarily in the 40-Year-Old Virgin territory). It's serious, yet it stops short of being really heavy. Like The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, another movie about a severely disabled man, it ultimately feels hopeful, and in this case, that's due to Mark's sense of humor. We see him freaking out about finally having sex for the first time, and while there's an element of shame at his inability to get it done perfectly, he's still able to laugh about it to a degree.
I definitely related to Mark's ability to fall in love so easily. It doesn't take much for me to find a woman who's witty, smart and fun to be around attractive regardless of looks - and that's the gospel truth. (My problem has always been that in addition to all of those things, the woman in question is either married, dating someone, or gay! If it weren't for bad luck...)
Maybe he reaches out too far too soon, and puts all his eggs in one basket when it comes to love, but given his situation, can you blame him? I tend to be the opposite; I play my cards close to the vest, as it were. It's less risky, but I guess I've always found it simpler. Maybe I should rethink that. I dunno.