Park City has been birth place of several award-season runs in recent years with “Precious” in 2009, “Winter’s Bone” in 2010 and “Martha Marcy May Marlene” last year all coming into the Oscar conversaton a year after their premieres. This year, the water was a little murkier with no definitive picture leaping out of the pack though, along Benh Zeitlin‘s “Beasts Of The Southern Wild” and Ben Lewin‘s drama “The Surrogate” starring Sundance favorite John Hawkes seem to be the most likely candidates.
Fox Searchlight, who acquired the latter film soon after its premiere, evidently concur: it’s been retitled as “Six Sessions” and set for an October 26th theatrical unveiling. The new title isn’t exactly an improvement but as far as titles becoming blander and more generic (see: John Hillcoat‘s ‘The Wettest County‘/”Lawless,” Andrew Dominik‘s “Cogan’s Trade“/”Killing Them Softly“), it’s not the worst example we’ve ever seen.
The late October release, meanwhile, seems a fairly smart, counter-programming move (for now) pitting it against “Alex Cross,” “Fun Size,” “Of Men & Mavericks” and “Silent Hill: Revelation 3D.” It won’t be all smooth sailing, though, with the weeks surrounding it hosting the releases of Paul Thomas Anderson‘s “The Master,” David Chase‘s untitled musical drama and Martin McDonagh‘s “Seven Psychopaths.”
Starring Hawkes, Helen Hunt and William H. Macy, “Six Sessions” follows the true story of Mark O’Brien, a writer and poet crippled by polio, who sets out at the age of 38 to lose his virginity, with the help of his priest and the titular surrogate. Our Sundance review singled out particular praise for the leading acting trio noting that “each take the right approach to this material; neither melodramatic nor too underplayed, not without humor and not without gravity.” [BoxOfficeMojo]