Chelsea (Sasha Grey) is a high-priced $2,000-an-hour call girl in Manhattan, offering a 'girlfriend experience': she'll dress with the client in mind, go to dinner and a movie, listen attentively to talk about work and finances, and she'll provide sex. It's October, 2008: a presidential election nears and the economy is in free fall. She has a boyfriend, Chris (Chris Santos), who's a personal trainer. We are shown five non-consecutive days in Chelsea's life. She's working on her Web page, talking to image consultants, and being interviewed by a reporter. She asks clients when their birthdays are and uses that for an astrological prediction. She's drawn to a new client, a writer from L.A. Should she break her rules for him? What if it risks her relationship with Chris? Should she invest in gold? Written by
"Girlfriend experience" is a form of sex work (paid-for female companionship) in which a female prostitute behaves like a male client's girlfriend or shows (artificial) emotional intimacy beyond the sex act. See more »
On October 18th, I met with Dan. I wore a vintage black cashmere sweater, earnest sewn jeans, and Pour la Victoire boots. Dan talked the entire time. We didn't have sex. He was very upset about a contract his firm lost to I.M. PEI. He set another date for Tuesday, October 21st.
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After the end credits, there's a brief scene of Chelsea washing a client's hair as he sits in a bathtub and talks about John McCain. See more »
This film gets a 5/10 from me because mostly it was in focus and not too hostile to the viewer.
That said, let me start at the end, and say that I was at once relieved that the tedium was over, and annoyed that almost no story had been told, no character really developed. It doesn't even qualify as an abstractly artistic experience.
Soderbergh is by no means my favourite director, but he has been responsible for some at least competent film-making in the past, which is why I went to see this film, in addition to the subject sounding interesting.
But I am just shocked not to be able to find anything good to recommend this film except that it's in focus, and you can identify a main character or two. The sound, cinematography, and editing are otherwise among the worst I've ever experienced. The story just barely exists. In a way, the film is worth seeing just to see how not to make a film.
I could go on about what I wish had been different, but really, what's the point? It's beyond repair.
I will say it's better than Last Days by Gus Van Sant. If you liked that, you'll probably love this.
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