Jack Goes Confidential: Helen Hunt Bares All as Sex Surrogate in ‘The Sessions’

Imagine having spent most of your life being wheeled around on a gurney and your nights sleeping in an iron lung…

That was the real life story of writer Mark O’Brien who was paralyzed from the neck down by polio since childhood. He’s played flawlessly in THE SESSIONS by John Hawkes of WINTER’S BONE fame.

By the age of 38 the need for physical sex had become overwhelming for Mark. He just had to experience it before death come knocking—which could be any day.

What would he do and how would he justify it with his Catholic upbringing?

Several trips with caretakers wheeling him into the church for sessions of advice and confession with new priest William H. Macy finally prompt him to take action. Mark engages the services of sex therapist—or better, sex surrogate—Helen Hunt who is no nonsense about her job and her willingness to fulfill Mark’s desires.

After all, she’s also a wife and a mother.

So don’t confuse Hunt’s character with a prostitute even though she provides everything from initial foreplay and stimulation to full intercourse. Six sessions maximum. That’s all she offers per client.

The film is far from being a downer. Instead it plays out as tender, triumphant, exhilarating and uses plenty of humor and outright laughs to sustain the story.

That’s due primarily to the great acting abilities of John Hawkes who pulls it all off strictly with his face while lying flat on his back through the entire picture. His expressions. His witty dialogue. His outlook on life.

Look for a possible Oscar nomination for his challenging performance here.

And Helen Hunt. We’ve never seen her like this before. ALL OF HER. Complete frontal and rear nudity by the sex surrogate.

Come to think of it, I’d happily subscribe to her treatments.

And William H. Macy keeping it real as the flexible priest who offers new wave moral guidance and breaking down our patient’s barriers while puffing on the cancer sticks and sipping on sinful fire water.

THE SESSIONS not only won this year’s audience award at the Sundance Film Festival but  was also honored with a special jury prize for ensemble acting.

The Ben Lewin directed moving true-life story, opening limited in K.C. this weekend, also features Moon Bloodgood, Annika Marks and Rhea Perlman.

It achieves 3-1/2 out of 5 stimulating fingers.
JACK GOES TO THE MOVIES Friday mornings on KMBZ Fm & Am / Also on Time-Warner Cable’s K.C. ON DEMAND, Channel 411 / And throughout Nebraska on NEBRASKA ON DEMAND.

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11 Responses to Jack Goes Confidential: Helen Hunt Bares All as Sex Surrogate in ‘The Sessions’

  1. jack p. says:

    Just a brief update. “THE SESSIONS” opens today at only the Glenwood, Tivoli and AMC 30, Olathe.
    If you’re interested in seeing it but don’t live close to these three theatres, Fox Searchlight Films is expanding the K.C. run NEXT weekend–on 11/16.
    That’s when you can actually appreciate ALL of Helen Hunt at a theatre that’s really near you.

  2. Reggin Tnuc says:

    Mr. Jack, I saw a sneak preview of this at the Tivoli earlier this week. A most brilliant story, and movie. I can highly recommend it.

  3. the dude says:

    Teardrop gets laid.

  4. the dude says:

    And don’t forget he plays the brother of Kenny Powers in Eastbound and Down and Sol Star in Deadwood- two awesome shows.

  5. chuck says:

    Oh man, I don’t know…

    They shoulda called this movie TMI.

  6. Rick Nichols says:

    The all-porn precursor to “The Sessions” would be the “sketch” titled “Sexual Healing,” which no doubt was inspired by the song of the same name, or was it the other way around? Don’t know. Anyway, it’s no surprise to me that something like this would be a hit with the Sundance crowd, which was probably discretely passing around the Mary Jane at the time. Next year they can move the film festival to Colorado and not have to worry about being caught smoking a little weed. So is Helen now in the Hunt for an Oscar, too?

  7. Super Dave says:

    To me Helen Hunt is a very underrated actress.

  8. Scoop says:

    Great Sex in Only Six Lessons!
    Support Your Local Surrogate!

    “Dear John,
    I hear you’re just dying to get it on –
    Now in scientific terms we refer to this as ‘the urge to merge’ –
    But that the feeling ‘down there’ is completely gone;
    Not to worry, Hollywood’s sending me in
    To help you, well, rise to the occasion
    Since sex therapy’s my vocation …
    Can’t wait for the love-making to begin!
    Affectionately yours, Helen”.

  9. Craig Glazer says:

    Nice to see Jack’s rviews get the attention they dserve, he is one of the better film critics in America…he is pretty honest about what is good and what isn’t. Like that.

  10. randyraley says:

    Thanks Jack. Cant’t wait to see it.Helen Hunt is one of the better actresses of this generation. I’ll put Laura Linney there, too. Almost reminds me of the Richard Dreyfus, Christine Lahti “Who’s Life is it Anyway? which I thought was outstanding. And if I remember right, a movie you turned me on to 30 years ago. Thanks for always telling it like you see it for as long as you have bud. Hope you are well.

    • the dude says:

      One of the best Dreyfus movies of all times besides Jaws is “Let it Ride”.
      If you have not seen it you are missing a true gem of a movie and if you have, put it in the Netflix queue for another watch.

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