The Girlfriend Experience
|The Girlfriend Experience|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Steven Soderbergh|
|Produced by||Mark Cuban
|Written by||Brian Koppelman
|Distributed by||Magnolia Pictures|
|Running time||77 minutes|
The Girlfriend Experience is a 2009 experimental drama film shot in New York City. It is directed by Steven Soderbergh and stars then-active porn star Sasha Grey. A rough cut was screened at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2009. The film has also been made available on Amazon Video on Demand as a pre-theatrical rental. Soderbergh mentioned Michelangelo Antonioni's Red Desert and Ingmar Bergman's Cries and Whispers as influences. The film is also notable because it was produced for $1.3 million and was shot with a relatively inexpensive Red One camera.
A drama set in the days leading up to the 2008 Presidential election, and centered on a high-end Manhattan call girl meeting the challenges of her boyfriend, her clients, and her work.
Chelsea (real name Christine) is a New York escort who specializes in offering the girlfriend experience. She finds that lately her clients are spending less and less on her services, and are troubled by the financial crisis, a topic they raise frequently in her company. She is also interviewed by a journalist, who quizzes her about her work and personal life. She goes from client to client performing her services.
- Sasha Grey as Christine, alias Chelsea
- Chris Santos as Chris
- Philip Eytan as Philip
- Timothy Davis as Tim
- Peter Zizzo as Zizzo
- Glenn Kenny as "The Erotic Connoisseur"
- Vincent Dellacera as Chelsea's Driver
- Kimberly Magness as Happy Hour
- Mark Jacobson as Interviewer
Critical response 
The film received a 63% on the critical summation site Rotten Tomatoes with a consensus of "Steven Soderbergh's latest lo-fi production is strikingly crafted but emotionally vague."
Roger Ebert rated the film four out of four stars, saying "This film is true about human nature. It clearly sees needs and desires. It is not universal, but within its particular focus, it is unrelenting."
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Kyle Smith of the New York Post awarded the film 1 star out of 4, saying "Time for another of Steven Soderbergh's 'experimental,' i.e., half-assed, films." David Edelstein of New York Magazine complained that, "Most of the dialogue is listless, and no matter how much Soderbergh snips and stitches, the movie is a corpse with twitching limbs." Luke Davies, critic for The Monthly, wrote that the film is "disposable and pretentious" and "is shot sombrely and austerely, in a style that might be described as 'vacuous chic'" and concluded that "as a film in which a porn star's presence is a fundamental marketing hook, it is masturbation."
- "The Girlfriend Experience (2009)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
- Sullivan, David (October 14, 2008). "Sasha Grey Stars in Steven Soderbergh Feature". AVN Media Network. Adult Video News. Retrieved January 13, 2011.
- Sullivan, David (October 15, 2008). "Video: Soderbergh Directs Sasha Grey". AVN Media Network. Adult Video News. Retrieved January 13, 2011.
- "The Girlfriend Experience Sundance Review". collider.com. January 23, 2009. Retrieved January 13, 2011.
- "The Girlfriend Experience". Amazon Video On Demand. Retrieved January 13, 2011.
- Ebert, Roger (May 20, 2009). "The Girlfriend Experience". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved October 26, 2009.
- Smith, Kyle (May 22, 2009). "Phony Documentary Doesn't Do The Trick". New York Post (NYP Holdings Inc.). Retrieved October 26, 2009.
- "Steven Soderbergh and Sasha Grey: ‘The Girlfriend Experience’". The Week. 2009-05-22. Retrieved 2013-02-10.
- "Amoral Tale: Luke Davies on Steven Soderbergh's "The Girlfriend Experience"". The Monthly. Schwartz Publishing. September 2009. Retrieved October 26, 2009.
- Official website
- The Girlfriend Experience at AllRovi
- The Girlfriend Experience at Box Office Mojo
- The Girlfriend Experience at the Internet Movie Database
- The Girlfriend Experience at Metacritic
- The Girlfriend Experience at Rotten Tomatoes