Monday, March 18, 2013

I've Got a Crush on John Hawkes

I've recently become a big fan of this versatile actor - not the least of which is his phenomenal work in "The Sessions" playing poet Mark O'Brien. In case you don't know the story Mark O'Brien was stricken with polio as an eight year old and spent the rest of his life in an iron lung.

Hawkes walks the fine line between humour and sentimentality - bringing a wonderful light to this man's life and his all too human yearnings - one of which is losing his virginity. Helen Hunt plays his "sex therapist" Cheryl and does a wonderful, subtle understated portrait of that character - she finds herself torn between her clinical detachment and forming an all too real bond with her patient.

The film deals very sensitively with the subject matter and gives you lots of food for thought about how we deal with differently abled people. I watched a doc about Mark O'Brien online afterwards and he pointed out that at some point many of us will be disabled, if we live long enough.

I hadn't realized that I had seen Mr. Hawkes work before - he was in Spielberg's "Lincoln" and most memorably as a nasty meth addict, Teardrop  in "Winter's Bone" (for which he was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor) alongside powerhouse Jennifer Lawrence. That tells you he is a chameleon and working actor - far more interested in his portrayals than celebrity. As well as film, he has also appeared in "24", "Lost", "Deadwood" and as the creepy cult leader in "Martha Marcy May Marlene" . Plus he also appeared in two of my favourite shows "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "The X Files" .I read an article by a Globe and Mail writer over the weekend arguing (and rightly so) that because there are so many roles for male actors (as compared to female actors) someone always gets overlooked when Oscar time rolls around. He did receive Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nominations. But fear not - I have a feeling you are going to see much more of this actor.

He hails from the Midwest - Minnesota in fact, (his father is a farmer) which explains his down to earth reflections and modesty when he is interviewed. He also played in a couple of bands during his time in Austin, Texas - " Meat Joy" and  Sorry, David Strathairn and Paul Giamatti...it seems there is a new man in my life or at least in my dreams....
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