Friday, October 23, 2009

THE GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE

Screenplay by David Levien and Brian Koppelman
Directed by Steven Soderbergh

Sasha Grey

Premiere date: January 20, 2009 (Sundance Film Festival)
R for sexual content, nudity and language.

Chelsea is a high-priced escort who offers her wealthy clientele the eponymous service. In other words, on their long, often overnight dates, she assumes the role of a temporary romantic partner, attending highbrow cultural events, engaging in intellectual discourse, and eating at hip and expensive restaurants, all while expressing an interest in the client's life and work. She keeps a detailed journal about her clients. Chelsea's live-in boyfriend, a personal trainer, struggles with trying to earn a fair share of the upscale business he brings into his gym. Chris is conflicted when a wealthy client invites him on a weekend trip to Vegas. The couple faces further problems when Chelsea finds herself sincerely attracted to one of her clients, a married screenwriter. Over the course of the film, Chelsea is interviewed by a journalist, and visits "The Erotic Connoisseur," a sleazy blogger who reviews escort services.

6 comments:

Ellen said...

I've had a really hard time deciding how I feel about this one. It was definitely interesting and original, to say the least.

The Mad Hatter said...

...what did you think of it Rae?? It was one of my biggest disappointments this year, so I'm really curious to hear your reaction.

Rae Kasey said...

It was interesting as a study of human behavior but really, really flawed. I'm not sure hiring a porn star was the way to go.

I appreciate that Soderbergh is experimenting and trying new things (it worked with sex, lies, and videotape after all) but he missed the mark on this one, I'd say. It felt scattered and rough, like the script needed another three or four drafts.

The Mad Hatter said...

@ Rae... Couldn't agree more, and I'm actually a big fan of Soderbergh's work. If you want to see one of his experimental movies that succeeds, track down a copy of BUBBLE.

I couldn't believe how bored GF EX left me! It was pretty to look at, but these whining yuppies couldn't possibly interest me less. It actually upset me to see them drifting through the luxurious life they had, and moping so much while they drifted!

As for Sasha, I'm with you - a porn star was a bad idea. She seemed so cold, so distant, and brought nothing to the part. This is why porn stars don't usually act.

Rae Kasey said...

Cold and distant is exactly how I would describe her. I mean, in a way I guess I get that since her character was supposed to have all of these walls up to protect herself.

But in the moments where she should have been disappointed or vulnerable she completely fails. And the joker who played her "boyfriend" was terrible.

If he had hired a real actress and fleshed out the characters more it could have worked, but as it was they were all sort of flat.

The Mad Hatter said...

@ Rae... Yeah, it's understandable that a prostitute would put up walls to distance and protect herself...but should some small part of her still entice?

You're right though, it was the scenes where she was with her guy, her fling, and on her own that I felt really let down. She still seemed to be that same vacant nymph she was with her Johns. You'd think that in such moments she'd let on a bit more, letting the audience get a glimpse at the switch she has to throw to do what she does.
No such luck with Sasha.

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