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Exclusive Clip: Helen Hunt’s daring return in ‘The Sessions’ garners Oscar buzz

Meriah Doty
Movie Talk
August 24, 2012

"The Sessions" was one of the best received movies at this year's Sundance Film Festival -- then titled "The Surrogate" -- and is now the first film of the year to garner notable Oscar buzz.

Helen Hunt makes perhaps her boldest move on the big screen yet, playing a sex therapist -- a hands on sex therapist called a surrogate. Hunt hasn't starred in a film that has received such critical acclaim since her 1997 Oscar-winning performance in "As Good As It Gets."

Viewer discretion advised: Contains adult themes

Based on a true story, Hunt's character is Cheryl Cohen Greene, and one of her clients is a paraplegic, Mark O'Brien, played by John Hawkes. Hawkes, by the way, is getting chatted up as an early frontrunner for a best actor Oscar. The film, which is said to have gotten a standing ovation at Sundance, won the dramatic audience award and special jury prize for ensemble acting at the Park City, Utah, festival earlier this year.

The 49-year-old Hunt bravely goes nude for the role as her character's purpose is to help O'Brien lose his virginity before his health further deteriorates. (Oddly enough, Hunt has appeared in a love scene with a paralyzed man once before in 1992's "The Waterdance.") And O'Brien can't help but to fall in love with her. The drama, also starring William H. Macy and Rhea Perlman, is said to be subtle and witty.

An exchange between both Greene (Hunt) and O'Brien (Hawkes) in the above clip -- seen here first on Yahoo! Movies -- reveals more about Greene's controversial occupation. She is not a prostitute:

O'Brien: Money's on the desk over there.

Greene: Yes it is. Thank you.

O'Brien: That was the wrong way to start off.

Greene: It really was. Should we start again?

O'Brien: Please. You start.

Greene: Although the aim is for us to have sex, I'm not a prostitute. You don't have to pay me upfront. I have nothing against prostitutes, but there's a difference. We can talk about that later.

O'Brien: I'm sorry.

"The Sessions," written and directed by Ben Lewin, is due in theaters October 26.

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