Movie Review: The Girlfriend Experience (2009)
Steven Soderbergh's The Girlfriend Experience is a movie best seen when you didn't mean to see it. There's a whole category of films like this: ones that are meant to surprise and expose, and in so doing, innovate. Sasha Grey plays a Manhattan call girl, a self-proclaimed sophisticated luxo-priced escort for those who want something between meaningful date and booty call. Told in a series of interviews both formal and informal, she runs through a lineup of manipulative men for her monetary gain, but in the end they run through her. The exception and half the story is of her boyfriend, whom she considers an enigma until he corners her aggressively one day after she naively wants to run away with a client. Jealousy, possessiveness, and rage rear their commonly ugly heads.
Plot aside, it's truly a tragedy in every sense. She loses money, her hopes, her emotions. She's deluded and defrauded. Most of all, her problems would vex even the most adjusted anatomical faculty in the School of Hard Knocks. I'll recommend it just for that, and that I got to say School of Hard Knocks. The lighting and ambiance is puzzle-perfect. Grey basks in the ugliness and darkness of her often untenable situations with quietude and what at first glance appears as stoicism, but underneath is bewilderment and a strange innocence.
Don't sit down with a bowl of popcorn to see this, instead intend to do something more highfalutin and let it draw you in unqualified; that's the magic of this movie.