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Helen Hunt and Paul Hawkes in The Sessions

This post is not about design, well…not directly.

And if you haven’t seen “The Sessions”, this is NOT a spoiler alert.

I have always loved going to the movies – the entertainment, the fantasy…the escape.  Most recently, I’ve seen the energy charged Skyfall (Daniel Craig) and the “plane-crash-you-can’t-turn-away-from” Flight (Denzil Washington)– both very entertaining in their own rights, but not memorable in terms of being a truly touching film that reminds you about the human condition or better yet, a little bit about yourself.

I purchased my ticket “The Sessions” starring Helen Hunt and Paul Hawkes and walked into the theater with 5 other people – I made 6.  I was aware of the premise of the movie and expected to be taken on the personal journey of Mark O’Brien (played by Paul Hawkes, who was a poet paralyzed from the neck down due to polio who hired a sex surrogate, played by Helen Hunt, to assist him in losing his virginity).  What I didn’t expect was to experience a range of emotions throughout 98 minutes.

My first and immediate reaction was a feeling of slight uncomfortableness over seeing Paul Hawkes character in his daily life – and how he was portrayed to reside in his own body.  This, however, is quickly erased by his own outlook of his situation and the determination, humor and humanity he demonstrates.  The movie quietly unfolds to reveal the personal and intimate realities of our roles of simply being human.  While this is highlighted through Paul Hawkes character, we remember that in being human we have an innate need for touch, connection, love and acceptance from another human being.  For me, the beauty of the film is in the relationship between the two main characters.  Hunt starts off providing a service in an emotionally detached, but caring fashion – she’s done this before and has an attitude of “I’m here to help you”, but is slowly forced to naturally let her guard down due to the sheer vulnerability and honesty that her pupil reveals in their sessions together.

The movie was touching to me because it pointed me to my life and the two men in it: my son, who is 2 years old and my husband, who is not 2 years old.  Both need me in different capacities for touch, love, connection and acceptance to thrive in life.  As we get older, we take these important emotions for granted, sometimes exchanging them for work, children, etc. – but as the film reminds me, as long as we’re human we need to make room in our lives and allow ourselves to experience the beautiful vulnerabilities…