Browse all reviews by letter     A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 0 - 9

USA 2009
Directed by
Steven Soderbergh
77 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

The Girlfriend Experience

The Girlfriend Experience, one of Steven Soderbergh’s periodic forays into more adventurous material, is not going to be a film that will please anyone looking for a conventionally escapist movie as it is more a series of non-linear and dispassionately observational vignettes.  But thanks to a tip-top script by David Levien and Brian Koppelman, it is also a multi-layered film that encompasses many broad issues as it focusses on its main subject.

The subject is a young New York call girl who goes by the name of Chelsea (a real-life “adult” movie starlet, Sasha Grey) and her day-to-day routine as she goes about her rounds, playing “girlfriend” to a series of well-heeled johns who (rather inexplicably as she is at best what one would call “pretty” but no more) pay her lot of the folding for sex. A rather unusual twist is that she shares a swank apartment with a boyfriend named Chris (Chris Santos) a personal trainer who knows what she does for a buck. This is not an aspect of the title which is explored in any depth although it does assume some significance ater in the film.

Despite its subject matter The Girlfriend Experience is not in any sense titillating. Certainly there is an unavoidably voyeuristic aspect to watching Chelse's assignations but that is more to do with Soderbergh’ s resolutely observational distance from his subject, not to any exploitational indulgence. 

If anything the film ihas the rather cerebral agenda of exploring Chelsea’s persona/personality within the context of American consumer capitalism. The setting is 2008, the American  economy is in trouble and Chelsea’s clients are feeling the squeeze, her boyfriend is trying to hustle sports goods as a sideline and get more money from his gym, various types are offering to hook Chelsea up with better paying clients, whilst to cheer herself up Chelsea goes splurging on designer brands. It’s a desperate and sad world in which everything and everybody has been commodified and no-one pays more of a price than Chelsea.




Want something different?

random vintage best worst