The Girlfriend Experience (USA, 2009)

girlfriend_experienceDirected by: Steven Soderbergh. In the preface to my copy of Different Seasons, Stephen King writes something to the effect that the novella is the most frustrating of literary forms to market to people because, basically, “it’s too long for a short story, too short for a novel.” As I was watching The Girlfriend Experience come to a close at just over 75 minutes, I wondered if there was a word yet for a cinematic equivalent of the novella. The filmella? What makes a short story, or a novella, or a filmella, different from an underdeveloped story is the fact that, when push comes to shove, the storyteller—in this case, Steven Soderbergh—felt that the story had been told in a sufficient and fulfilling manner within a shorter format. In this case, Soderbergh wanted to take a little dive into the world of high-end Manhattan escorts. He made the interesting choice of shooting on modest, handheld digital cameras—something he seems to enjoy a lot these days—in order to give his already-naturalistic approach to dialogue and acting performances even more realism. I was also impressed by the way Soderbergh was able to tie in his concerns about the economy (this film was made in 2009 after all), and to make this sort of subplot about capital and the people who work in the higher echelons of the world economy branch out so naturally from the fairly insulated, self-contained world of Sacha Grey’s character. Having never seen what Grey is like in a pornographic capacity (honestly), I can only speculate that there are some more layers of meaning at play here when you watch her in this understated, subtle performance. If this film is any indication, I think she legitimately has a promising acting career ahead of her.

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One response to “The Girlfriend Experience (USA, 2009)

  1. Pingback: Side Effects (USA, 2013) | Offhand Reviews·

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