The Girlfriend Experience

Ostensibly a jazzy, nonlinear short story about the emotional life of a high-end Manhattan hooker, this latest entry in The Steven Soderbergh Eclecticism Project is less a sexy confection than a sly satire on capitalism. Or, more specifically, a satire on capitalists during a recession. The film takes place in the last days of the 2008 Presidential campaign, as the first shockwaves from the current economic downturn are still resonating. Just about everyone on screen is concerned about holding down a job, from the expensive call girl “Chelsea” (contemporary porn star Sasha Grey) who frets about the new batch of hookers who might be that little bit younger, more alluring, and more obliging, to her less affluent boyfriend, a bottom-rung personal trainer who keeps looking for an entr ée to gym management (though he considers himself too special and unique a snowflake to don the company T-shirt). Even the journalist who interviews her is involved, it is clear, in a kind of commerce. And what kind of job is journalist, really, in today’s economy?

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