Related News

Home » Feature » Events and TV

Promising 'Girlfriend' turns into a real tease

WHEN Steven Soderbergh strays from his glossy, star-studded extravaganzas and makes the experimental films that are smaller, weirder and seemingly truer to his heart, they can work beautifully ("Solaris," "Bubble") or they're self-indulgent bores ("Full Frontal," "Che").

Either way, you've got to admire that he keeps pushing himself, keeps daring to try, and isn't just taking the safe route by making the same movie over and over again.

"The Girlfriend Experience" falls closer to the former category than the latter, with its intimate pastiche of moments in the life of a Manhattan call girl.

Placed out of order chronologically but occurring just before the 2008 presidential election, these snippets are mesmerizing and impressionistic as a whole, while individual scenes can feel a bit flat and airless.

Conversations and details that might not have meant much at first take on greater significance as "The Girlfriend Experience" circles back to them, producing an eventual a-ha effect, even though none of it really matters by the end anyway.

Pornstar's debut

The only professional actor among the cast is porn star Sasha Grey, making her mainstream debut as a high-priced escort who goes by the name of Chelsea.

Her specialty, beyond mere sex, is ensuring that her clients feel they're receiving complete companionship while they're with her.

That means dressing flawlessly for every occasion, catering to every emotional need and staying on top of the topics that interest them (and since they're all wealthy and worried about losing money, the talk usually turns to the economy).

They say they want to know the real her but Chelsea is astute enough to realize, "they want what they want you to be."

And so she adapts accordingly.

It also follows the unexpected relationship between Chelsea and her longtime live-in boyfriend, a personal trainer named Chris (Chris Santos).

Glenn Kenny, who plays a blogger who writes positive reviews about call girls in exchange for sexual favors, livens things up, but forces us to remember that, like it or not, everything is a transaction.

And while Soderbergh makes you wonder about the real Chelsea, Grey plays her as such a chic, chameleon-like enigma, she remains beyond our grasp. It's all part of the game: enticing but frustrating, the ultimate tease.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend