5.5/10
13,685
97 user 171 critic

The Girlfriend Experience (2009)

R | | Drama | 8 July 2009 (France)
Trailer
2:05 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $9.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
A drama set in the days leading up to the 2008 Presidential election, and centered on a high-end Manhattan call girl meeting the challenges of her boyfriend, her clients, and her work.

Director:

Reviews
Popularity
3,912 ( 255)
1 nomination. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

The Girlfriend Experience (TV Series 2016)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

TV series based on Steven Soderbergh's "The Girlfriend Experience", which centered on the life of a New York call girl.

Stars: Riley Keough, Paul Sparks, Mary Lynn Rajskub
Bubble I (2005)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Set against the backdrop of a decaying Midwestern town, a murder becomes the focal point of three people who work in a doll factory.

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Stars: Debbie Doebereiner, Omar Cowan, Dustin James Ashley
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A look at the art of Spalding Gray who drew from real life experience to create a compelling and deeply personal series of monologues.

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Stars: Spalding Gray
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

The U.S. government decides to go after an agro-business giant with a price-fixing accusation, based on the evidence submitted by their star witness, vice president-turned-informant Mark Whitacre.

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Stars: Matt Damon, Tony Hale, Patton Oswalt
Open Windows (2014)
Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

A jilted fan soon finds himself pulled into a deadly game of cat-and-mouse after he accepts the opportunity to spy on his favorite actress via his laptop.

Director: Nacho Vigalondo
Stars: Sasha Grey, Elijah Wood, Neil Maskell
Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A recovering gambling addict attempts to reconcile with his family and friends but finds trouble and temptation when caught between feelings for his ex-wife and her dangerous hoodlum boyfriend.

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Stars: Peter Gallagher, Elisabeth Shue, Alison Elliott
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.8/10 X  

A man obsessed with prostitutes discovers that love is a lot more expensive than sex. An entertaining peek into the world of prostitution from the client's point of view.

Director: Ileana Pietrobruno
Stars: David Lewis, Ivy Vine, Emma Lahana
Haywire (2011)
Action | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

A black ops super soldier seeks payback after she is betrayed and set up during a mission.

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Stars: Gina Carano, Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A sexually repressed woman's husband is having an affair with her sister. The arrival of a visitor with a rather unusual fetish changes everything.

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Stars: James Spader, Andie MacDowell, Peter Gallagher
Che: Part One (2008)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In 1956, Ernesto 'Che' Guevara and a band of Castro-led Cuban exiles mobilize an army to topple the regime of dictator Fulgencio Batista.

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Stars: Julia Ormond, Benicio Del Toro, Oscar Isaac
Che: Part Two (2008)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

In 1967, Ernesto 'Che' Guevara leads a small partisan army to fight an ill-fated revolutionary guerrilla war in Bolivia, South America.

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Stars: Demián Bichir, Rodrigo Santoro, Benicio Del Toro
The Limey (1999)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

An extremely volatile and dangerous Englishman goes to Los Angeles to find the man he considers responsible for his daughter's death.

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Stars: Terence Stamp, Peter Fonda, Lesley Ann Warren
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Chelsea / Christine
...
...
Colby Trane ...
Waiter (as T. Colby Trane)
Peter Zizzo ...
...
Vegas Buddy #1
Marshall Gilman ...
Vegas Buddy #2
Michael Roberts ...
Vegas Buddy #3
Vincent Dellacera ...
Chelsea's Driver
Jim Kempner ...
Art Gallery Owner
David Levien ...
Mark Jacobson ...
Interviewer
Alan Milstein ...
Sukhdev Singh ...
Chris & Chelsea's Super
Ted Jessup ...
Edit

Storyline

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 <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

See it with someone you ****

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexual content, nudity and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

8 July 2009 (France)  »

Also Known As:

GfE  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,700,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$204,112 (USA) (22 May 2009)

Gross:

$695,417 (USA) (28 August 2009)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Steven Soderbergh first heard about Sasha Grey when he read an article in Los Angeles magazine about her. See more »

Quotes

Chelsea: Sometimes clients think they want the real you, but at the end of the day, they say they don't. They want what... they want what you want to be. They want you to be something else. They don't want you to be yourself.
Interviewer: Suppose I'm that rare client that really wants to...
Chelsea: If they wanted you to be yourself, they wouldn't be paying you.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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 »

Connections

References McHale's Navy (1962) See more »

Soundtracks

Freak Show
Written and Performed by Shakerleg
Courtesy of Bleeding Hands Music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
a 21st century My Life to Live (?)
27 May 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Although his aesthetic isn't quite as detached or suffused in jagged poetry, I wonder if Steven Soderbergh may have been, if subconsciously, channeling Jean-Luc Godard with his latest film The Girlfriend Experience, specifically a film like Godard's My Life to Live. There Godard dealt with a woman who has little money and so becomes a prostitute, seen in chapter segments and with a style that had a basis in a script but also in documentary intuition- meaning the actors could do what they wanted, even if the director had to stay true to some kind of form. With The Girlfriend Experience we get Soderbergh again working in his "minor" work form, under the radar of the box-office (Oceans') and controversy (Che). He casts a young porn actress (Sasha Grey) and non-professionals (the actor playing Chris, the personal trainer and boyfriend of Grey's character, is an actual personal trainer), and the film's non-scripted-but-scripted style, and editing taking cues from the Nouvelle Vague, is at the least never less than interesting.

If the film doesn't tell a story exactly, which will surely frustrate some but not be a surprise to anyone who saw Schizopolis or Full Frontal (for better and worse), it does convey time and place very well, of a city where the upper class on edge from horrid economy and we're told of the "companionship" of the call girl played by Grey like in journal entries or sound bytes. If there is any structure it's loosely based around a man sort of interviewing Grey at a restaurant, her demeanor calm but elusive, politely answering some questions and edging around others, and the action and dramatic tone wavers so much from documentary and fiction that it's impossible to separate it. But it's not really naturalism either, though it could be considered that. This is in another way why it's akin to a Godard film: it's highly stylized, maybe so much so that its intention is precisely to provoke in its choices in a distanced frame or a device obscuring faces or even faces out of focus in the foreground as they speak with the background at a bar in focus.

The Girlfriend Experience is also a surprising, if not show-stopping or breakthrough, showcase for Sasha Grey, who has a kind of dirty beauty which she can hide away with her natural sophistication. Though it's not part of the story, there was something that Soderbergh saw in Grey from her porn film experience (it's a similar thing as say casting a professor in Umberto D: he's not playing one, but you can sense the life experience on the face and in the body expressions, the spirit), and its hard to look away from her. Nor even for her personal trainer boyfriend. At worst, it's got some acting that is sub-par, like a rehearsal for a scene that still needs work before being shot but is filmed as a final workshop. But at best we see this torn and bewildering couple who are close but have that block of her "job" sleeping with other men- and the character's proclivity to look for a birthday as a sign of a connection- as something captivating. Even the city, as filmed by Soderbergh as a place with looming buildings and street musicians surrounding the well-to-do, is a character to speak of.

But, as with Soderbergh's other "experiments", saying it's not for everyone is an understatement to end all others. It's so polarizing you can feel the icicles forming from the breath in the theater. Maybe it was wise on his part to make this available on-demand from IFC, as it is an absolutely wonderful thing to experience as a rental though not really a "full-price" affair as it turned out to be at the Clearview Chelsea in Manhattan. Some will flat out hate its consistent choice in camera-work or its strong performances, while others may like it immensely for its sense of truth and human nature. For me, it's provocative just enough to do for 78 minutes starring a woman who is given an opportunity to do something not sans clothes and legs raised. She takes a hold and makes it interesting on a level I didn't expect: the subdued. If Bresson were alive he might find a use for her.


27 of 43 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Brilliant! A Masterpiece! negritude
Sasha Grey's Performance retidahling
What was in the package? oneseat
No idea why people hate this so much ngcapnjack
Sasha's Salary? ashley83184
Why I Agree w/EW: This is one of the 10 Best of 2009 atlas_sort_of_shrugged
Discuss The Girlfriend Experience (2009) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?