One of my favorite critics is Roger Ebert. I've watched his show Siskel and Ebert, a TV movie review show that made the two thumbs up famous. On hissite, he had reviewed a movie call TheGirlfriend Experience. In meandering around Neflix, I had come across this movie that stars Sasha Grey, directed by Steven Soderbergh, director of the Ocean's Eleven movies, The Informant starring Matt Damon, just to name a few.
GFE is filled with unknown actors except for one, Sasha Grey. She is a porn star. Don't ask me how I know this. I just happen to be really smart. Ahem. GFE is an actual term used by escorts who give the girl friend experience. They usually charge by the hour or clients can arrange overnight stays, which seemed to be Chelsea's (Grey) bread and butter.
According to Ebert's research on IMDb, Grey has starred in 161 adult films, and she now has her own company managing other girls. I've done no research into Grey. That is a lot of movies. I know guys who haven't had sex that many times.
For Soderbergh to choose a woman who has sex for money to play a woman who has sex for money seems obvious. But why choose Grey? Mainly because of who she is and the depth she carries. Further proof of depth was revealed when she listed her top five movies on Current's Rotten Tomatoes show. I've heard none of those movies because most of them were foreign films. Her explanation of why she chose them indicates her depth.
Porn stars are not known for their acting ability, nor are they even required to. And for a woman who I think would have thick skin, Grey plays Chelsey with a level of sensitivity and vulnerability.
The movie takes place during the 2008 presidential election, follows her through several of her transactions, while following her boyfriend's as well. He's a personal trainer who's trying to get a clothing line up and explores more lucrative job opportunities. Chelsey's clients talk mainly about the downed economy, telling her what she should do with her money. I couldn't help thinking how we're all selling a part of ourselves. Chelsey may be selling her body, but how many of us work in meaningless jobs, selling parts of our souls.
The character arch seemed to be a tragic one. We're lead to believe that she is special, that she's the creme of the crop in the escort industry. But as the film moves along Chelsey realizes that she's not. A bit depressing since we get the same sense that her clients are also nothing special despite their wealth. Chelsey is expensive.
I liked the movie. It's was an experimental film by Soderbergh. Did I need to see it? I guess so, having watched it.