This is yet again another story so bizarre that it just had to be true, and this dramatized movie tells of a very witty and courageous young man who just wanted to have sex once before he died. Mark O’Brien had polio as a kid and although he wasn’t paralyzed his muscles were so extensively damaged that he was unable too move anything but his head. He spent his nights in an iron lung and his days strapped to a gurney, and with the help of his aides managed to very successfully pursue his goals of being a poet and journalist.
Mark had been wanting to have sex for some time, and when he was commissioned to write an article about sex among the disabled he uses this as an excuse to finally lose his virginity. He finds himself a sex surrogate who helps him with his tendency to panic and over-think, and as he was a devout Catholic he took to taking advice with his new very droll Parish Priest (William H Macy) on his feelings of guilty pleasure.
The relationship that Mark develops with his Surrogate is tender and touching and despite her extreme detached professional attitude she is in real danger of allowing her feelings to interfere with her work.
It is a glorious warm and compassionate story that was enriched by Mark’s incredible quick-witted dry humor and his passion for his poetry, and in the movie he is played by John Hawkes who manages an astounding portrayal without moving a muscle.
There is a significant amount of nudity ….most of it by the Surrogate beautifully played by a very much in shape Helen Hunt … and despite the subject it is not the least bit pornographic.
P.S. I saw this first at Sundance 2012 ( and this is reprinted from that Blog) and when I read the program notes beforehand, it didnt seem the most obvious of choices of subject matter into a comic drama, but full credit to writer/director Ben Lewin for bringing it to the screen with such joy that it made for one of my favorite movies of the Festival. Out now in Theaters .
Labels: comedy. drama, dramatized reallife, Sundance