The Girlfriend Experience

This is a movie by Steven Soderbergh starring real live ex-adult film actress/porn star (whatever your preferred terminology may be) Sasha Grey. It was shot on a budget of less than 2 million (so the snack table was probably nothing to write home about) and was shot in less than two weeks.

It was about the life of a fictional high class escort/call girl (again- your call) “Chelsea” played by Grey. This movie was kind of disjointed in focus/message. There was a lot about being a call girl, and a lot about the economy in 2008. Pervasive theme of everyone and no one getting ‘fucked.’ All the rich dudes Sasha/Chelsea was getting with were concerned about the economy tanking & losing their businesses whatever they were (screenwriting, diamonds, etc). The routine we sort of got into as a viewer: Chelsea would go on a date, we would get a glimpse of the interaction, mostly no sex- then we would cut to a voice over from Chelsea writing up the date in her online diary/log of appointments (?) with a careful cataloguing of everything she wore (very American Psycho of her) and what happened, what was said, etc. There would  also be shots from an interview a reporter was conducting with her because he wanted to do a piece about her life, mainly because she was a call girl in a committed relationship and he thought that was ‘novel’ (and the potential to be a novel you feel me?)

We got substantial coverage of her boyfriend, a struggling personal trainer, that involved gym sessions, fights, and a trip to vegas with a friend/client (?) Apparently her character was really into her “books” which isn’t a euphemism for coke, it’s this type of personality indicator theory that has to do with birthdays but isn’t astrology. That’s about all I got from that. But she puts a lot of stock into it and when a client whose birthday really aligns in a way with hers that rearranges her furniture she decides to go on a weekend away with him.

This makes her trainer boyfriend really mad because apparently they have rules surrounding her sleeping with other men for money and one of them is ‘no going away with clients.’ Also she’s kind of being a bitch about it the way she tells him- she comes in after he’s been frantically looking and calling her all day and she’s like, “Yeah, my phone was off, I’m fine, I met someone I’m going away with him this weekend” and he’s like “But we have rules” and she’s like “I  gotta do me.” Then he insults her ‘books’ which she gets offended by. Then they break up? I think so. The movie is non-linear which I really liked but at points it was sometimes hard to tell what had happened yet.

Anyway, this dude that she basically leaves her boyfriend for, ends up canceling on the weekend after she’s already there, then she’s like crying alone on this cold hill. It was actually really sad. It was that feeling when you give up something for something else that turns out to be not the right choice.

She has a really interesting look- she’s super petite with this long dark hair and her face is all angles. I think she looks really pretty and I do think they were going for a vampy Breakfast at Tiffany’s kind of thing. She also has really defined eyebrows that she arches instead of responding to most things in the movie and it betrays little to no authentic emotion which is why it’s so sad when she’s crying on this hill cause we’ve seen her emote before this point like twice.

It was a little slow moving and slightly static, but by the end of the film you feel for this girl and have sympathy for her plight- which is listening to rich guys complain about nothing and really just wanting someone to pay attention to her/love her. This was probably the most boring film I could think of where the two main topics were money and sex- the film somehow managed to be completely clinical and detached about both of them.

An interesting thing about the film was the choice for her boyfriend’s career- he also has ‘clients’ and sells his time to people and is trying to market himself to make money from these relationships he builds. Because of the double language they often used, you really got the sense that the director was asking the audience to question their opinions about the morality of sleeping with men for money-what if it is just another job? Also kind of nice that there was no requisite sexual violence scene that so often seems to accompany movies of this sort. Which feels very conduct novel-y to me, it’s like you can’t present female characters who are sexually open without punishing them for it at some point. “That girl who’s a prostitute? Don’t worry! She gets raped!” for example.

Overall interesting to watch especially if you have a mini-fascination with Sasha Grey the way I do. Pretty well put together, just kind of slow and monotone throughout but I’ve seen worse.

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