This is a very sweet story about Mark O’Brien played by John Hawkes. Mark who was the victim of polio as a child and was left paralysed from the neck down. Mark has to spend 4-6 hours a day in an iron lung so he can continue breathing and has to have pretty much full time care, as he has to be in the prone position all the time. This never stopped Mark from doing what he wanted, he graduated from university and became a journalist and had a love for poetry. At 38 he knows he may not have a great deal of times left and would like to lose is virginity but can’t express the feeling to anyone. Only to some of his nurses who have to bed bath him. Then one day after he hears about a sex surrogate (Helen Hunt), Mark who needs reassuring pays a visit to his Catholic Priest (William H. Macy) to see if this is forgivable in the eyes of his lord.
What was very clever about this movie was is that it took a subject that could have been very uncomfortable to watch and turned it 360 degrees the other way, so that the viewer becomes aware of what real life is about. You don’t need super slick dialogue to vamp a movie! What you need is a real true hero and a guy that never said “I can’t do that”. John Hawkes is just superb in this movie playing Mark, they guy has definitely got some acting chops about him. Helen Hunt put herself in a situation that could have been a disaster, but she also does an excellent job of what seemed like a tricky angle for the main stream. Whereas this movie could have just gone for the heart strings and played on Marks sensitive side, it doesn’t! It mixes both sadness and laughter and at the end you don’t remorse for Mark, you feel inspired by him.