The Sessions

Synopsis: At the age of 38, Mark O'Brien, a man who uses an iron lung, decides he no longer wishes to be a virgin. With the help of his therapist and his priest, he contacts Cheryl Cohen-Greene, a professional sex surrogate and a typical soccer mom with a house, a mortgage and a husband. Inspired by a true story, The Sessions, follows the fascinating relationship which evolves between Cheryl and Mark as she takes him on his journey to manhood.
Director(s): Ben Lewin
Production: Fox Searchlight Pictures
  Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 18 wins & 63 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
95 min

Mark O'Brien has been going

to UC Berkeley since 1978.

That's O'Brien in the motorized gurney

heading for class last week.

He had polio

when he was six years old.

The disease left his body crippled,

but his mind remained sharp and alert.

And since he wanted to be a writer...

...Mark O'Brien entered Cal

to major in English and learn his trade.

He wrote this poem for us about school

here and about graduation.



Today I hear the crowd's applause

Receive congratulations from my friends

Today I ask if I've found

a place among the rest

Who studied, read, wrote

And passed the test in cap and gown.

Today I hope you see a man upon this stage.

Mark O'Brien teaches us that courage

and perseverance overcome obstacles.

With Mark O'Brien at UC Berkeley...

...Bill Hillman,

Channel 5 Eyewitness News.




Look, you

This most excellent canopy, the air

Presses down upon me

At fifteen pounds per square inch

A dense, heavy, blue glowing ocean

Teasing me with its nearness and immensity

And all I get is a thin stream of it

A finger's width of the

rope that ties me to life


Okay, just focus.

Scratch with your mind.

Okay, your mind.

Scratch with your mind.


Good morning.



Good morning.

You're late.


I swear this was one crazy bitch

Who'd swing me about enough to scare me

But careful enough so she could say:

"Now what was all the yelling about?"

"You polios are screamers. Always were. "

I didn't say a word.

I typed my skinny novel in my head

And thought about revenge.


Would you mind if I asked you

a favor?

What, you need help moving furniture?

I need an advance on my pay.

Like, two weeks.

Now, that's not exactly

asking too much, is it?

What if you don't last

another two weeks?

It was a real drag that I was no longer

allowed to use my other gurney.

The self-propelled one.

It had caused a couple

of spectacular accidents.

Basically, in spite of all the mirrors,

I couldn't see where I was going.

Mary's fear and apprehension

slowly gave way to pride and purpose.

Elizabeth, pregnant

herself with Saint John...

...felt the power of this wondrous woman.

It was Elizabeth, and her absolute faith...

...that gave Mary

the courage she was lacking.

And she gave thanks, saying,

my soul doth magnify the Lord...

...and my spirit hath rejoiced

in God, my savior.

May the spirit of the Lord be amongst you

and remain with you always.



I'm definitely a true believer, but

I believe in a God with a sense of humor.

A wicked sense of humor.

One who created me in his own image.

Hello. I don't think we've met.

I'm Father Brendan.

I'm Mark O'Brien.

I knew Father Seamus very well.

I'm sorry that he's not here any more.

As are many others.

I'll do my best to fill his shoes.

You'd like me to hear

your confession?

Yes, I would.

I told my attendant to come back

in half an hour. Is that okay?

I'm in no rush.

I can be a bit time-consuming...

...but I'm worth the trouble.

I'm here for you, Mark.



This is not exactly a confession.

I haven't yet done the deed.

I was sort of hoping

to get a quote in advance.

What's on your mind?

The most immediate thing on my mind

would be one of my attendants.


I'm thinking of getting rid of her.

It's an evil thought, but I can't help it.

Is she dishonest?

Or incompetent?

No. Neither of those.

She looks at me the wrong way.

It's that "You need me

more than I need you" look.

I'd like to show her she's wrong just for

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Ben Lewin

Ben Lewin (born 1946) is an Australian director. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "The Sessions" STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 11 Apr. 2021. <>.

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