Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Greta Christina Reviews "The Girlfriend Experience"

Greta Christina has an insightful review of Sasha Grey's new "crossover" movie, "The Girlfriend Experience". (Warning: contains some spoilers.)
I'll admit I was skeptical. Even biased. When I heard about "The Girlfriend Experience," a movie about a high-end prostitute who provides companionship as well as sex -- and what happens when she gets emotionally entangled with a client -- I expected one of two things.

I expected a) a morality play about the consequences of turning love and sex into a commodity, with either a sadder- but- wiser ending in which the guy just can't live with his girlfriend being a prostitute, or -- more likely -- a happy ending in which the prostitute leaves the business to be with the guy...

or else b) a wacky romantic comedy, the kind that might star Ashton Kutcher and Sarah Jessica Parker, full of amusing secrets and misunderstandings and cross-purposes that all come to a head at the end of the second act and all get resolved in the third. With, of course, a happy ending, in which the prostitute leaves the business to be with the guy.

I was wrong. It's neither. Steven Soderbergh's "The Girlfriend Experience" is thoughtful, complex, emotionally nuanced, and thoroughly grown-up. It's definitely a flawed movie (I'll get to that in a moment), but it's an interesting movie and is very much worth seeing. And, although the prostitute is the central character, in an odd way the movie isn't really about prostitution. Instead, the movie uses prostitution as a way of commenting on the economies of human connection, underscoring the link between money and emotion in a variety of non-prostitution relationships... both professional and personal.


1 comment:

  1. Another positive and quite interesting review of "The Girlfriend Experience" can be found here.

    There are even some positive words given to Sasha Grey:

    [...] Predictably, critics get enmeshed with the fact that the lead, Grey, is also a porn star, and, in most instances, derided her performance. But I thought it was quite fine, because it seamlessly blended into the overall mood. Most professionally trained actresses would have brought an artifice to the role that engendered a more emotional audience response that undermined Soderbergh's intentions.

    American Leftist: Film Notes: The Girlfriend Experience