The Girlfriend Experience: All Boy
February 12, 2010
I admire how Steven Soderbergh makes a lot of stuff and is willing to engage in political, experimental cinema even as a famous rich person.
But I think in The Girlfriend Experience (2009, but set in our 2008 pre-election moment of cultural vertigo) he pushes the metaphoric link between prostitution and contemporary (indie) cinema in ways that are a bit sloppy, or at least anti-woman. Let’s give him that in his trying-hard post-feminist way he lets the ho have a heterosexual boyfriend who is also selling himself (to men, as a “trainer”) as an attempt at equaling out the bargain: pretty appearances hiding empty interiors equal the really big bucks for them both. The film marks how the demise of the economy influences the high-end market of body workers, all the while set in one of Soderbergh’s every-other “low-budget” experiments (less then 2 million dollars, shorter than 2 weeks) presumably, ironically, saying the (oh so male) opposite about his own labors (low-end package, big ideas). Girl or boy, to sell yourself is female; to make art is male.