"The Girfriend Experience" A Great Viewing Experience


Steven Soderbergh is another one of my favorite directors. He cleverly balances his work between big studio movies and small indie films that test the boundaries of the film itself. He has directed such well-known hits as the “Ocean’s” movies, “Erin Brockovich” and “Traffic.” He is also responsible for the indie classics “Sex, Lies, and Videotape”, “Out of Sight” and “The Good German.” With “The Girlfriend Experience” or “GFE” his lead actress is porn star Sasha Grey in her mainstream debut.

Sasha plays Chelsea an upscale business oriented call girl living in Manhattan. She offers her clients the “Girlfriend Experience.” Something that is so much more than just sex. For a few thousand an hour she offers her roster of well to do clients the experience of her company and companionship. The film deals with a number of issues like the politics of relationships, and the lengths people will go for artificial happiness. Chelsea also has a boyfriend whom she lives with. The separation between work and play can be a fine line if you don’t have the self-discipline. Her boyfriend is a physical trainer and has clients of his own, just in a much different capacity than Chelsea’s line of work. The film effectively explores the many facets of Chelsea’s complex life and the people who help her, and the ones who want to exploit her.

The film is presented in a non-linear format that creates a feeling of the chaos that might be going on inside Chelsea’s head. It is shot in a way that gives it a fly on the wall documentary feel to it. There are storylines involving her clients, her boyfriend, and her boyfriend’s trip to Vegas, her support team, and one with a reporter. The time period of the story is key in that it takes place during the impending 2008 election and the economic downfall. With Chelsea’s clients losing money, will she still be kept on the payroll?

An interesting question is raised by the journalist who asks “Do any of your clients ever get to see the real you?” Chelsea is exactly what the client wants her to be or what she thinks they want. Setting up massive barriers is the only way you’re going to protect yourself and survive in this business.

“GFE” isn’t your typical prostitute movie by a long shot. For some of her clients, it seems like the sex is almost an afterthought for what she does for them. Actress Sasha Grey really shines in this part. The big question is, will she peruse more mainstream roles or go back to doing pornography? The real-life story of Sasha Grey is quite amazing and should also be looked into if interested. In interviews for “GFE”, she says she wants to direct porn films which would be groundbreaking in that women directors are unheard of. This is definitely a film that should not be missed.