Tag Archives: Helen Hunt

As Good As It Gets (1997)

Drama may be tough, but comedy is even harder to pull off, especially when you may risk alienating your audience with a potentially controversal  main character. Which brings us to multiple Oscar winner  As Good as It Gets

Melvin (Jack Nicholson) is an obsessive compulsive, best-selling author who is notoriously terrible to everyone he meets. However his tightly ordered world is upset by interactions with waitress Carol (Helen Hunt) and his artist neighbour Simon (Greg Kinnear), and despite themselves some unlikely friendships begin to emerge.

It’s a brave move having your main character as unlikable as Jack Nicholson’s Melvin. In fact not just unlikeable-he’s a racist, homophobic misanthrope who is rude to everyone he meets. So it’s a testament to Jack Nicholson and writers Mark Adas and James L. Brooks (who also directed) that through the course of the film you start to like Melvin, and even in some cases feel sorry for him.

I liked that Melvin’s love interest Carol is a proper character and not just the love interest. She has her own issues and faults and her subplot with her ill son is engaging. Despite what Melvin wants she is not going to submit to his every whim even if she is the only person to tolerate him.

One of my favourite characters was Simon played by Greg Kinnear as Melvin’s gay neighbour. He is so likeable and nice but even his cheery demeanour starts to break after a series of unfortunate incidents happen to him. I just wanted to give him a hug every time something bad happened to him.

It’s not surprising that Nicholson and Hunt both won Academy Awards for their roles in this film. Sometimes comedies tend to get overlooking when it comes to awards as they are seen by some as “fluff”-when actually to have such good comedic talent and timing is very difficult. Then to put an emotional heart into the film like these actors do is wonderful. I’m glad they were were awarding for this. It’s a pity that Kinnear didn’t win but that year Supporting Actor went to Robin Williams for Good Will Hunting.

Rating 4/5 – a great comedy that has many witty lines and memorable characters

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The Sessions

A film about a man paralysed from the neck down trying to lose his virginity may not sound like a must-see kind of movie, however drama The Session was released last year to critical acclaim and won a  ton of praise for its cast.

Based on the true story of poet Mark O’Brien(John Hawkes) who had polio as a child and is paralysed from the neck down, because of this he is still a virgin. Fearing he may be nearing the end of his life he decides to hire a sex surrogate named Cheryl (Helen Hunt). The film follows their six sessions together and how their unusual relationship affects them both.

It’s easy to see why Helen Hunt was Oscar nominated for her role. She is brilliant as Cheryl, funny and sensitive as she does her work with Mark. Hunt sheds all her inhibitions in her scenes with Hawkes and manages to make their situation seem completely normal. However its a big mystery as to why John Hawkes wasn’t also nominated for an Oscar as well. Not only does he physically embody the role of Mark, managing to convey so much considering he is barely able to move, but he also manages to slip effortlessly between the funny and tragic moments of the film. A difficult role that he handles so well you do wonder why he was missed out in so many award nominations.

There is also a great supporting cast. William H Macy is great as Father Brendan who does  his best to support religious Mark through his sessions, which leads to many amusingly awkward conversations. Also good is Moon Bloodgood (excellent name by the way) as Vera, one of Mark’s caretaker who has to take him to his sessions with Cheryl.

Rating-4/5 funny, touching and full of great performances-go and watch it now!

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