The Girlfriend Experience

Rated 4.0

Steven Soderbergh has been turning out fractured but intimate character studies between his star-heavy studio productions, and while The Girlfriend Experience is closer to the taut Bubble than the smug Full Frontal, you fear he had to commit himself to Ocean’s 14 through 22 to get it made. Local girl turned legit porn star Sasha Grey is Chelsea, a high-end Manhattan call girl looking to expand her business in the days leading up to the 2008 election. Chelsea and her high-end personal-trainer boyfriend (Chris Santos) are both basically parasites of the same bankers and executives who just destroyed the country, and also among the first luxury items to be discarded when the shit goes down. The 21-year-old Grey displays disarming beauty and intelligence, as well as the android eroticism of a sex worker. That’s either really good acting, or the whole point.