The Sessions"Funny And Touching" award, The Sessions. As polio sufferer Mark O'Brien, Hawkes spends the entire film acting only with his face and voice, yet still manages to create a character of far more depth than some who've been receiving inordinate praise this LFF *COUGH* Ben Affleck *COUGH*.
Hawkes is matched in The Sessions by Helen Hunt in what will inevitably be described as an equally brave performance, although where "brave" equals "disabled" in his case, in hers it means "gets her minge out". She plays a sex therapist hired by Hawkes to help him get his oats, although as anyone who's ever paid for sex knows, it's never as straightforward a process as it seems. Am I right guys? Guys? Oh.
Genuinely moving and often hilarious (I'm just looking for synonyms for "funny and touching" here), this is sensitive filmmaking without being over-deferential; at no point are we expected to pity Mark, and in fact it's occasionally difficult to stifle a LOL at some of the predicaments in which he finds himself, despite them being really quite awful. And if that isn't enough to interest you, don't forget that Helen Hunt gets her minge out.
Wed 17 (subtitled)
While this might sound like the most ludicrous premise for a film ever, it is in fact "inspired by true events". It's no accident that those four words are blasted onto the screen in twenty-foot high letters at the beginning of the film, because the sheer vacuum of common sense on display would otherwise have you demanding writer/director Craig Zobel's head on a pole. The fact that all this actually happened (link contains spoilers) makes Compliance a deeply unsettling look at the extent to which people will subordinate themselves to perceived authority.
While the script and performances are utterly convincing given the literally unbelievable subject matter, Compliance isn't entirely successful. Eighty minutes of watching people on the phone becomes wearing after a while, and an unnecessary coda feels tacked on to satisfy outraged audiences - a self-defeating exercise, because it's the least honest part of the film. Probably better as a documentary than a dramatisation, this is nevertheless worth checking out just for sheer stupefaction value.
Thu 18, Fri 19, Sat 20