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The Girlfriend Experience [Blu-ray]
The Girlfriend Experience
Actor: Sasha Grey
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Genres: Comedy, Drama
R     2009     1hr 18min

Chelsea (Adult Film Star Sasha Grey in her mainstream film debut), a $2,OOO-an-hour Manhattan call girl, offers more than sex to her clients; it's her companionship and conversation that provides her customers with the com...  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: Sasha Grey
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Genres: Comedy, Drama
Sub-Genres: Comedy, Love & Romance
Studio: Magnolia Home Entertainment
Format: Blu-ray - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 09/29/2009
Original Release Date: 01/01/2009
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2009
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 1hr 18min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 8
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English
Subtitles: Spanish
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Movie Reviews

Can't buy me love
Daniel B. Clendenin | | 05/23/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"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."
Top Shelf Soderbergh
C. J. Kennedy | Los Angeles, California USA | 05/21/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"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."
Passing Out Spoons
chmwood | 05/18/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Maybe Amazon should have a spoon rating for the movies in its on-demand service. It seems as though most people who have reviewed this film wanted to be spoonfed a story of some type...or maybe the spicy material wasn't as Kleenex-box worthy as they had hoped.

Whatever the case, don't listen to them if you like movies that let you look into someone else's life. GFE is like a Cassavetes film, without all of the yelling. Oh, and it's brilliant."
Brilliant to me...will be awful to most...
Seen | 08/06/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"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.")

While the economy is the threaded theme throughout, the film touches on so many different issues, poses so many's so DENSE, it reminds of a late Godard film, as shot in a clinically Kubrick style.

That said, I would not suggest this film to 99% of the people I know, because most people (so I've heard) found it plotless, pointless, dull, random, disjointed, messy, etc.

But if you're a fan of avante-garde/abstract/utterly original cinema, give this film at least a rent (it's only about 78 minutes long) or check out some of Soderbergh's more adventurous work. To the right viewer, the girlfriend experience is well worth the "asking price."

***Note: The alternate version, in the bonus section, on the blu-ray (don't know if it is on DVD) is an even better cut than the amazing original, at two minutes shorter, a few extra scenes and visuals, all in wonderful HD."