He played a creepy meth addict in Winter’s Bone and a creepy cult leader in Martha Marcy May Marlene, but in The Sessions—the feel-good polio comedy of the year—gangly, craggy character actor John Hawkes plays a man immobilized from the neck down and desperate to lose his virginity and, in the process, reinvents himself as a charming leading man.
Guards routinely stole into Chen Guangcheng’s house, wrapped him in a blanket, beat him bloody, broke his wife’s bones. The blanket seemed especially gratuitous: Chen is blind. This went on for a year and a half, all because the self-taught lawyer had sued the Chinese government to stop forced abortions in his village. So one dark April night, he left it all behind.