The genre boxes: Drama, Comedy, Romance
The reaction: I thought I'd be angrier.
The part where I say more things about it: We go into the movie knowing our protagonist, Mark O'Brien, has some serious health issues: He spends hours each day in an iron lung. And when we learn that the desire that drives the story here is the desire for human connection, the desire to experience intimacy, well, I think we'd all be bracing ourselves for some horribly manipulative sadness. But the thing, the wonderful thing, is that the movie doesn't go there. I'm telling you this because I would have watched it sooner if I was sure it wouldn't make me angry-sad.
John Hawkes is amazing as Mark. The movie is based on a true story, and Hawkes and Ben Lewin — who directed the movie and adapted O'Brien's original article, "On Seeing a Sex Surrogate," for the screen — make sure we know that Mark is a real guy. People have been shouting for months about how fantastic Helen Hunt is in this, and they are so right. But my favourite part about this movie was Mark's relationship with his priest, played by William H. Macy.
The verdict: Watch it. It's sad, but in a things-are-really-kind-of-alright way; and the sad is balanced by humour and lightness. Also, it's like a minute and a half long (95 minutes). It's on Netflix in Canada, and if it's on Netflix in Canada, it's got to be on Netflix in everywhere. And William H. Macy. So watch it.