The Girlfriend Experience - Sasha Grey’s mainstream debut


The Girlfriend Experience (USA, 2009)

Seen: Saturday, 17th October 2009 (cinema, WFF)
Runtime: 77′
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Cast: Sasha Grey
Production House: 2929 Productions, Extension 765, HDNet Films
Plot: The story of a sophisticated escort, who gives men a “girlfriend experience” - as in an evening out during which she behaves exactly like their girlfriend rather than a girl they hired to have sex with. Despite her career choice, she still seems to manage to maintain a stable relationship with her boyfriend.


Impressions In Short
A bit blah. Didn’t evoke any strong feelings in me. It had a very improvised kind of feel to it and didn’t seem to have much of a structure (as in it didn’t have a clear beginning, ending, culmination points etc.).

More About the Film
The main interest factor for me was Sasha Grey. This wasn’t really the kind of film where the actors could put in striking, dramatic performances or anything like that. The characters just weren’t written with that in mind. So I didn’t find out all that much about Sasha Grey as an actress. She was fine for what the film needed her to be, but how much more she can or cannot do as an actress is as much a mystery to me as it was before *sigh* The one cool thing that I found out is that she can actually be vulnerable on screen. She comes across as a very strong and fierce sort of personality in interviews, so I was wondering - thought she might have more trouble with that.
As for the film, it was a bit disappointing in just how purposeless it felt. Nothing much happens during the course of the film. It’s more like a set of random scenes with this very improvised feel to them (even the soundtrack is jazzy which just increased that feeling of improvisation for me). I suppose it captured the atmosphere of New York pretty well thanks to this, but it also left me rather confused. I mean once the film finished it felt like nothing had happened. She was just back to meeting up with clients again.
Some time later I figured that maybe Chelsea had changed tactics by the end of the film and I just hadn’t noticed ;) Throughout the film she keeps repeating that clients don’t want the real her. If they did they wouldn’t be paying her. She thinks she has to create a sort of charade for them. But then at the end when she breaks down in front of a client (Sasha Grey was pretty good in that scene - I thought that was the most tricky bit of acting she had to do), it actually does change things. In the last scene of the film we see her with another client and she does something very uncharacteristic. The client tries to talk her into voting for McCain and she humorously answers something along the lines of “no way”. Not something she would have done before I think. So I suppose that means she changed tactics - she found that her clients didn’t want as much of a charade as she originally thought (as in she doesn’t have to pretend her political views are different than they really are). On the other hand maybe I’m reading too much into that scene :] I might be looking for meaning where there isn’t any, just because I can’t quite accept that the narrative structure really was that random.

Nope, not really. Not that you have to avoid this at any cost, it’s not that bad. But unless someone has a very particular reason to see it then I don’t think they’re likely to enjoy themselves much.

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