Helen Hunt appears naked in the new independent movie The Sessions, and many critics are seeing that as just the kind of risk that could put her up for Oscar consideration.
Hunt plays a sex surrogate to a severely handicapped man, played by John Hawkes. Though the premise may seem silly, movie blog The Alibi says it “rises quickly above both the giggling and the embarrassment, disarming viewers with a bold sense of honesty and a bright sense of humor.”
The story follows Mark O’Brien, a real-life poet and journalist who spent most of his life in an iron lung after contracting polio as a child. A virgin into his early 40s, O’Brien is intrigued and intimidated when a magazine asks him to write about sex and the handicapped.
That is where Helen Hunt comes in, appearing naked as the professional whose job it is to teach the disabled how to have sex.
With a timid actress, the role may have fallen flat, but The Alibi notes that Helen Hunt was up for the challenge:
“Well, she just goes for it. The 49-year-old is playing a sex therapist and is required to be quite, quite naked for most of the film. She does it in the most blunt, “it’s all out there” manner as possible. Who knew the light comedy actress had it in her?”
Helen Hunt is naked for a good portion of the film as she “gives all of herself in a role that never feels self-conscious,” Boca Mag notes. It is that performance that puts her solidly in Oscar contention, the report noted.