Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Dr. Ruth Lectures Stars of New, Highly Praised “Sex Film” Starring Helen Hunt


You’re going to be reading raves this morning for “The Sessions.” John Hawkes and Helen Hunt are headed for Oscar nominations in the lead categories. William H. Macy will be there in supporting actor. And “The Sessions” gets added to the list of potential Best Picture nominees: “Argo,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” “Lincoln,” “The Master,” “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” “Flight,” probably “Les Miserables” and one or two more.

Last night New York got a little mini private premiere of “The Sessions,” which played at Sundance last January as “The Surrogate.” Now it’s a Fox Searchlight movie, and about to be embraced at the box office. It’s the true story of Cheryl Cohen, a sex surrogate who helped polio victim Mark O’Brien–confined most of the time to an iron lung–realize his goal of having a sex life.

Hunt is naked through a lot of the movie–yes totally naked. And she has nothing to be ashamed of. This is an adult movie for adults, not porn. It’s a sweet, romantic adult film. All the work is top notch.

At the premiere dinner at Osteria del Circo, there were quite a few famous women (and a couple of men) who were kvelling over “The Sessions” and its participants: Melissa Leo, Lorraine Bracco, Kathy Narducci. Celia Weston, Lois Smith, Kathy Wallach (actress daughter of Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson), John Benjamin Hickey, Richard Kind, and so on.

But who stole the show? Dr. Ruth Westheimer, of course. She stood during the Q&A at the Dolby Screening Room following the screening room, and advised Hawkes “to wear a condom” when he was having sex. (Dr. Ruth was concerned the fictional characters didn’t seem to use protection. Turns out the real people had used condoms.) She then asked him to take his shirt off. A game and bemused Hawkes promised he’d do anything she wanted  — in private.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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