Based on the poignantly optimistic autobiographical writings of California-based journalist and poet Mark O'Brien, who was paralyzed from the neck down when polio struck during his childhood. Throughout much of his life O'Brien breathed with the support of an iron lung. At the age of 38, he hired sex surrogate Cheryl Cohen Greene to help him turn his dream of losing his virginity into a reality. John Hawkes plays the main character of Mark, while Helen Hunt is Cheryl Greene. William H. Macy also stars in the role of Mark's priest, Father Brendan.