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The Girlfriend Experience 2009 R CC

Set in the weeks leading up to the 2008 presidential election, THE GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE is five days in the life of Chelsea (adult film star Sasha Grey in her mainstream film debut), an ultra high-end Manhattan call girl who offers more than sex to her clients, but companionship and conversation - "the girlfriend experience." Chelsea thinks she has her life totally under control--she feels her future is secure because she runs her own business her own way, makes $2000 an hour, and has a devoted boyfriend (Chris Santos) who accepts her lifestyle. But when you're in the business of meeting people, you never know who you're going to meet... The twentieth film from Academy Award-winning director Steven Soderbergh (TRAFFIC, OCEAN'S ELEVEN), THE GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE is a sexy, gorgeously shot time capsule from the not-too-distant past.

Starring:
Sasha Grey, Chris Santos
Runtime:
1 hour, 17 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama
Director Steven Soderbergh
Starring Sasha Grey, Chris Santos
Supporting actors Philip Eytan, Colby Trane, Peter Zizzo, Ron Stein, Marshall Gilman, Michael Roberts, Vincent Dellacera, Jim Kempner, David Levien, Mark Jacobson, Alan Milstein, Sukhdev Singh, Ted Jessup, Stuart Levine, Marvin Stein, Dennis Shields, Steve Klapper, Glenn Kenny
Studio Magnolia
MPAA rating R (Restricted)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Amazon Video
If you like Soderbergh's more challenging, smaller scale, experimental work, you'll find a lot to love about The Girlfriend Experience. If you're just showing up for porn star Sasha Grey, save yourself the 10 bucks unless you really want to see the girl act. She actually delivers a natural, credible performance as an escort who isn't nearly as sophisticated as she thinks she is.

Told in a fractured, back and forth manner, the narrative is slight and challenging, but the jumbled chronology galvanizes your focus on what's happening. This isn't just the story of a call girl, it's really about loneliness, disconnectedness and the commodification of everything in the modern world, including love.

Soderbergh is often a detached filmmaker, but this is one of his most emotionally resonant pictures since Solaris. The feeling is subtle, but it's there.

This is also one of the most beautifully photographed films of the year.
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Format: DVD
The need to love and be loved, to know and be known, suggests director Steven Soderbergh (Bubble), is so deeply and powerfully embedded in human nature that we will do almost anything to get it. We will even pay for it, whether to a therapist, to a personal trainer like Chris, or to a $2,000 an hour "escort" girl like Chelsea who provides sex, of course, but mainly therapy to very wealthy but deeply lonely men. Mainly they talk to Chelsea, about all the things you'd talk about in a "real" relationship. She pretends to offer that and they believe they receive it, and woe to both parties when they drop their guard and transgress business boundaries to reveal themselves to each other as real human beings rather than as partners in a transaction. Since human love is one of the few things you can't buy, Chelsea and her clients seek something they can't get and forfeit their closest approximations in what they already have.
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Format: DVD
The sole intent of a business is to provide a commodity for the consumer. A young escort named Chelsea (Sasha Grey) is herself a commodity for rich men who, for all intents and purposes, want the same basic thing: Companionship. Some want to go to the movies. Many want to wine and dine her at pricey restaurants. Sex can be involved, but according to what we're shown, Chelsea's clients are much more interested in airing their financial grievances and persuading her to vote in specific ways during the 2008 Presidential campaign. They also seem quite fascinated with the idea of discovering the "real" Chelsea, which is probably why they often ask her so many questions about what she does for a living. But is it possible to "know" her? As she says, "If they wanted to know the real me, they wouldn't be paying." For an escort, it's not about reality, but about creating the illusion of reality.

Steven Soderbergh's "The Girlfriend Experience" operates on complex but relatable notions of humanity, specifically how money can be such a motivating factor. Neither Chelsea nor her clients delude themselves into believing that theirs is a lasting relationship. Indeed, her cool attitude and monotone voice make it clear that it's all about making a transaction and nothing more. She claims to be an escort in a committed relationship, but judging by the way she regards her boyfriend of a year and a half, Chris (Chris Santos), the idea is open for debate; Chris is a personal trainer, and like Chelsea, he wants to be successful at what he does. Do they love each other? Who knows? They live together, but there's never a moment of passion or even basic friendliness. Even when they argue, there's no conviction in what they say to one another.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
This is kind of an odd film to review, partially because it's such a singular film, which is probably why most (newspaper, film critic) reviews focused soley on it being a commentary on the economic crisis.

The writer/director of the film, Steven Soderbergh is best known for his ultra-successful and stylish works like "Ocean's 11" (the Clooney/Pitt one) or maybe the more mainstream award winner "Traffic." But in between doing these studio pics, Soderbergh does some truly original, sometimes downright experimental films like "Schizopolis" and "The Limey." The latter of his work is best suited to arthouse crowds, and even they will have mixed reactions.

I thought this was a brilliant film--it's exceedingly ambitious, stylistically suave, and thematically dense.

There's not really a plot per se, and the timeline is jumbled, but for the sake of simplifying it, we'll say that it follows a high class call girl played by real-life adult mega-star Sasha Grey over the course of 8 days, just before the Obama/McCain election. Non-linear plots are a dime a dozen these days, and so rarely do I see it done effectively and meaningfully ("Memento" and "Pulp Fiction" being two familiar standouts.) It seems rather haphazard at first, but by the time you're done, it's really quite an ingenious structuring.

Sasha Grey is either good at taking direction, has trouble emoting, or is a good actress--the world may not know until she does something else (besides porn.) Her performance is affectless, but it fits so well with the character (and is even referenced in the film) that I don't know whether to credit Soderbergh, Grey, or both for this suitable performance. (P.S. This is not a "sexy film.
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