Archive for April 15th, 2010

Whilst waiting for a haircut last year I read an interview with Sasha Grey, I think it was in GQ but can’t be certain. The first thing that came out is what a likeable and level headed girl she appears to be. The reason for the interview and something that came up a lot was her upcoming (at the time) film The Girlfriend experience. A veteran of nearly two hundred movies that the euphemism “adult” is normally applied to, but lets not beat around the bush, Ms Grey is a porn star.

The Girlfriend Experience of the title refers to an escort who gives exactly that, the experience of a girlfriend not just a prostitute that the client pays for sex then she leaves. Chelsea (Grey) goes out for dinner, goes to the movies, spends the night, but most importantly she talks to them and listens to their problems. In a film that was shot in the time leading up to the US presidential election and at the time when the western world economy was taking a nosedive it isn’t any great surprise what the characters talk about. Part of what I have just described is based on observation of the movie, other parts of it are based on what I have read, been told and seen in interviews, this is a shame, it would have been better if I was able to discover it myself watching the movie. The one possible misstep of the movie and its weakest angle is Chelsea’s boyfriend Chris (Chris Santos). Comparison between Chelsea’s career as an escort and her boyfriends as a personal trainer are suggested but not explored and that is what sums up Chris, his character is never really explored or dealt with The times when the couple talk are, especially about Chelsea‘s clients is often difficult viewing.

The big question can Sasha Grey act? The truth is I don’t know and I don’t think anyone else who has seen this movie knows, in this movie Soderbergh keeps his keeps actors at arms length in favour of a documentary style. Two things I can say in her favour; I can’t think of an mainstream actresses who could have played the part better, secondly I am interested to see her in more straight acting roles. To the movies credit there are times when it really does feel like documentary and that we are watching real people the last time I felt this about a movie was a little over a year ago when I saw Che also directed by Soderbergh. This style was achieved with the use of none professional actors and improvised scenes, this combined with the non linear structure really help keep the viewers attention.

Throughout the movie as the characters go about their daily lives questions are asked but not answered, nothing is resolved a lot like real life. Strangely I think the movie will exist in future as a document of a brief period in history. The reason I say strangely is because the film went into production before the economic crisis hit but because of the improvised nature of the movie it adapted to the world around it the way its characters do, the way real people do. Not Soderbergh’s best work but an interesting movie that has a lot to admire and enjoy.

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