WEEK IN MOVIES
10.30PM, TEN ★★★★
When it comes to The
Sessions, it is best to look past what some may initially think is unappealing packaging. Inside is a gift that keeps on giving long afterwards. This wonderfully warm, funny and genuinely touching film tells the true story of Mark O’Brien (played by John Hawkes), a renowned writer paralysed from the neck down. However, his many remarkable career achievements are not the focus here. Instead, it is his desire to lose his virginity. A series of consultations with Cheryl (Helen Hunt), a “sex surrogate’’, guides O’Brien towards his first experiences of intimacy. The film risks a lot with its bedroom scenes, which are both confronting and comforting in their explicit depiction of this unusual brand of therapy. The payoff is never remotely gratuitous. The closeness we witness – though ostensibly clinical in nature – reveals an inspirational bond between two people that has nothing to do with sex. Beautifully written and performed. Highly recommended. Costars William H. Macy.
TOUCHING THE VOID
10.05PM, ABC2 ★★★★
This must-see documentary is an astonishing tale of survival in the Peruvian Andes. After breaking a leg during a treacherous mountain descent, a young British climber is left for dead by his partner. Combining present-day recollections with frighteningly authentic re-enactments, both men come to appreciate nothing heals, or hurts, like facing up to reality. Directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Kevin Macdonald ( One Day in September).
9.30PM, GO! ★★
In 2019, the residents of an exclusive health resort discover they are being farmed for human body parts. Two rebels (Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson) escape. The so-so sci-fi of the first half is quite watchable, but the rest is standard run-and-gun chase stuff. Directed by Michael Bay ( Armageddon, The Rock).
WEDNESDAY LET THE RIGHT ONE IN 10.35PM, SBS2 ★★★★
Spookily surreal bites-of-passage drama. The great news is it’s superior to Twilight in just about every bloodsucking department. Based on the novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist, it’s about a young outcast who forms an uncomfortably close friendship with the immortal girl next door. Plenty of sharp, sly shocks in store for discerning horror fans.
THURSDAY SAVE THE LAST DANCE 9.30PM, ELEVEN ★★★
Though hardly a groundbreaking film, Save the Last Dance is at least prepared to acknowledge the complexities of inter-racial love. The movie’s heroine, Sarah (Julia Stiles), has just moved to Chicago to live with her estranged father after a personal tragedy. Her misery compounds into outright loneliness when she begins studies at a predominantly black high school. Stepping in to save the day is Tony (Sean Patrick Thomas) who enrolls Sarah in a personal improvement program that allows the former ballerina to get hip to all things hip hop.
FRIDAY ERIN BROCKOVICH 8.30PM, TEN ★★★★
Julia Roberts shines as a single mum who uses all charms at her disposal to get justice for the victims of a poisoned water supply. This smart and attitude-heavy film coasts along at a welcome (and almost breezy) change of pace from the usual way-too-serious true-story movies.
SATURDAY MICHAEL CLAYTON 10.45PM, NINE ★★★★
One of the best-written films of 2007 is also one of the better-acted. George Clooney anchors a topnotch ensemble cast in this powerful legal thriller, playing a shadowy corporate lawyer who saves his best work for outside the courtroom.
Taking a stand: Julia Roberts won an Oscar for her performance as the eponymous hero who fights for justice in ErinBrockovich.