The Girlfriend Experience

2009

The Girlfriend Experience

Critics Consensus

Steven Soderbergh's latest lo-fi production is strikingly crafted but emotionally vague.

67%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 139

35%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 33,122
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Movie Info

Set in the weeks leading up to the 2008 presidential election, "The Girlfriend Experience" is five days in the life of Chelsea (adult film star Sasha Grey in her mainstream film debut), an ultra high-end Manhattan call girl who offers more than sex to her clients, but companionship and conversation--the girlfriend experience. Chelsea thinks she has her life totally under control--she feels her future is secure because she runs her own business her own way, makes $2,000 an hour, and has a devoted boyfriend who accepts her lifestyle. But, when you're in the business of meeting people, you never know who you're going to meet.

Cast

Sasha Grey
as Chelsea/Christine
Mark Jacobson
as Reporter
Christina Nadeau
as Chelsea's Girlfriend
Glenn Kenny
as The Erotic Connoisseur
Elon Dershowitz
as Jewelry Shop Owner
Mark Jacobsen
as Interviewer
Vincent Dellacerra
as Chelsea's Driver
Ken Myers
as Restaurant Maitre 'd
Kimberly Magness
as Happy Hour
Timothy J. Cox
as Businessman
Ted Jessup
as Chatty John
Jeff Grossman
as Stockbroker
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News & Interviews for The Girlfriend Experience

Critic Reviews for The Girlfriend Experience

All Critics (139) | Top Critics (40) | Fresh (93) | Rotten (46)

  • We also find ourselves wondering about the real Chelsea, but Grey plays her as such a chic, chameleonlike enigma, she remains beyond our grasp. It's all part of the game: enticing but frustrating, the ultimate tease.

    Oct 1, 2014 | Full Review…
  • The Girlfriend Experience proves that a visually striking film can be made on the fly. But grab-and-run is a more fruitful strategy for images than scripts.

    Oct 1, 2014 | Full Review…

    Mark Jenkins

    NPR
    Top Critic
  • To be honest, Sasha Grey is a face in search of an expression and the whole movie depends on her performance.

    Oct 1, 2014 | Rating: 2.5/5 | Full Review…
  • Naturalistic performances and stylish, semi-documentary-style cinematography and editing (both courtesy of the director) make for an engrossing, insightful study of internal and interpersonal conflict.

    Dec 4, 2009 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Geoff Andrew

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Staggeringly unsexy but strangely compelling.

    Dec 4, 2009 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    Wendy Ide

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • I don't think Soderbergh has ever missed quite as badly as this: a shallow, negligent piece of work, badly acted and casually put together.

    Dec 4, 2009 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Girlfriend Experience

  • Jul 27, 2012
    Chelsea: After he got off the phone, we made out for a while and then he asked me to masturbate, which I did. Then he masturbated while watching me. He made another appointment for November 3rd.  "See it with someone you ****" The Girlfriend Experience is another one of Steven Soderbergh's experimental films. It is in the style of a movie like Bubble more then a movie like Ocean's 11. He filmed it on a small budget in a matter of two weeks with a cast that has never acted before(except Sasha Grey, but her normal films include deep throating or anal). It's extremely short and also feels like the audience is distanced from the characters. The movie doesn't do the audiences any favors when it comes to excitement. The movie is all about thought and character, and could be off-putting in that respect. A "sophisticated escort" goes about her life and we watch it take place. She has a boyfriend who is okay with the whole thing, but he seems to want it to stop through his dialogue. He hints at it, but doesn't just come out and say it. The plot is really not there. It's more just a character driven movie that has some statements to say about the Obama/McCain race and the crumbling economy. This whole movie is Chelsea's and the brunt of the film falls squarely on Sasha Grey's fingers. So did she deliver? Well, sorta. She wasn't half bad, and because of that, it's the same with the movie as a whole; it wasn't half bad.  In the end, I always have fun seeing a Soderbergh film for the first time and The Girlfriend Experience was no different. It wasn't a masterpiece by any stretch, but it was a decent little experiment. Not as good as Bubble, but still pretty good. I'm always open to movies like The Girlfriend Experience though; especially when someone like Soderbergh is directing. These type of experimental movies can be some of the most realistic movies you'll ever watch. Soderbergh's Bubble and Van Sant's Elephant and Paranoid Park are movies that come to mind. The only thing that is lacking in The Girlfriend Experience to create that same realistic effect are the performances. The Girlfriend Experience's performances just aren't good enough to create it.
    Melvin W Super Reviewer
  • May 24, 2012
    An original though detached and shallow study of the economic meltdown of 2008, seen through the lenses of a New York call girl (Sasha Grey), and how she deals with her various clients. While director Steven Soderbergh does a brilliant job picking a perspective on a subject like this and having a "fly on the wall" presence throughout, the film's inability to enamor or push beyond its initial thoughts on the economy prove to be very disappointing. It is still pretty good considering how Soderbergh filmed this as well as the fact that this does feel like an authentic look at a major event, but his inability to get inside his character's heads as well as not knowing exactly how to end his film mars its enough to say it is not worth an automatic recommendation. It is not bad, it just had the potential to be so much more than it is.
    Dan S Super Reviewer
  • Aug 02, 2011
    The Girlfriend Experience feels like an experiment in film-making. This movie has so many flaws that are hidden by beautiful cinematography and the casting choice of Sasha Grey. Sasha Grey is recognized throughout the world for being a pornstar. Nevertheless, she has decided to make the transition to film that leave many people scratching their heads for the reasons. I will never understand why she would stop doing porn so she can portray a upscale high-priced escort. A high-priced escort is basically a hooker. Grey does well in the role only because I really do not know if she is acting or not. She stares blankly at the screen the entire time showing no emotion in a role that does not give her much to do. I feel this movie would have served better as a documentary. Maybe then, more emotions and struggles could have been brought to the table for the actor to share. Grey is not completely responsible for her stale performance. Steven Soderbergh who has directed countless high profile stars gives Grey nothing to do. The things that were entertaining had to be the rich clients. The clients are shown to be egocentric, materialistic, and politically educated only for self gain. It is clear the message is how pathetic these men are for being only concerned about money and looks. Their vanity and greed corrupts them to the point where some of them cheat on their wives. These men actually pay another woman to have sex with them when they have wives at home. This movie shows the corruption that is within certain parts of society. The problem lies within its overall delivery which is lifeless. At 77 minutes, it crawls towards those minutes feeling like two and half hours worth of cinema. A good concept with some important themes, The Girlfriend Experience still falls flat.
    Jack M Super Reviewer
  • Jul 08, 2011
    The beauty of the movie lies in the way the scenes appear as being stolen stills from reality.
    Nastassia J Super Reviewer

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