as Carole Connelly in AS GOOD AS IT GETS (1997)
Melvin Udall is a misanthrope who works at home as a best-selling novelist in New York City. He suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder which, paired with his misanthropy, alienates nearly everyone with whom he interacts. He eats breakfast at the same table in the same restaurant every day using disposable plastic utensils he brings with him due to his pathological mysophobia. He takes an interest in his waitress, Carol Connelly, the only server at the restaurant who can tolerate his behavior.
"When you first entered the restaurant, I thought you were handsome... and then, of course, you spoke."
- Carol Connelly
Helen Hunt received her one and only Oscar for her performance as Carol Connelly, the only waitress who tolerates Melvin Udall, a cranky, bigoted, obsessive-compulsive writer but she has to leave work to care for her sick son, making it impossible for Melvin to eat breakfast. Helen Hunt makes the right choice and portrays beautifully a very down-to-earth character with no extravaganza or overacting. She stays
simple and very realistic allowing her to give a performance we can all relate to. As a brave mother who does everything to take care of her child, Helen Hunt adds a lot of vulnerability and determination to her interpretation. She is very effective and we really feel that all her reactions are not false, her performance is a lot much deeper that it seems. She doesn't have to lie or pretend to manage to give an authentic but also very natural performance. She shows rightly the struggles and the difficulties to be a single mom. Helen Hunt has empathy for her character and not only sympathy allowing her to give a brilliant performance and not just an average one. On her side of course, she has a good screenplay with many witty, funny and sentimental scenes, and two outstanding and great partners. Helen Hunt, Jack Nicholson and Greg Kinnear work really well together, and their chemistry is really enjoyable and flawless. Jack Nicholson is outstanding playing Melvin Udall, he’s funny, moving, sarcastic. Greg Kinnear is also superb, as Melvin’s homosexual neighbor, he adds a lot of humanity and kindness to the movie. He is very effective.
"Both funny and sad, the comedy was in the vein of Brooks' Terms of Endearment, except it was more eccentric and nuttier and in moments genuinely touching due to strong chemistry between Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt."
- Emmanuel Levy
Thanks to a well-written screenplay and two delicious and talented partners, Helen Hunt pushes the boundaries and reminds all what is the incredible power of the mother’s love. In As Good as It Gets she is honest, effective and above all very Natural. Everything seems so easy in her way to act, to move, to speak and to let her emotions appear.