The Girlfriend Experience Screen 7 articles

The Girlfriend Experience


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  • There are questions left unanswered, but no existential mysteries. The images have a cinematographic character, but they themselves have no independent identity: they’re unified in tone, décor, and mood, as if by a look book. There’s no spontaneity whatsoever to be found anywhere in the six hours of the show. “The Girlfriend Experience” is itself not an experience at all.

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    Film Comment: Amy Taubin
    March 03, 2016 | Sundance | March/April 2016 Issue (p. 64)

    [I enjoyed] the first four episodes of The Girlfriend Experience, a Starz series co-directed by Amy Seimetz and Lodge Kerrigan with the chilly elegance that is the hallmark of the series' executive producer, Steven Soderbergh.

  • A deliberately off-putting experience, wholly uninterested in ingratiating the viewer in trying to dissect its main character. And yet, if you’re willing to bridge the distance the filmmakers impose, the show exerts an icy fascination.

  • In fiction, the narrative tends toward the judgmental. Whatever pleasure the prostitute might experience will eventually be supplanted by either the pain of societal condemnation or an ignominious death. There are variations, of course, and it's to the credit of Starz's superb new series The Girlfriend Experience that it keeps viewers continually off-balance as to its overall intentions.

  • I love and respect it, I’ve already watched the whole first season and revisited individual episodes a second time, and the season finale three times. I think it’s easily one of the best shows of the year, and a major work by everyone involved, for reasons that I’ll allude to momentarily — though not in detail, because The Girlfriend Experience is actually four or five shows rolled into one, and a big part of its specialness resides in those moments where it morphs from one thing into another.

  • Kerrigan and Seimetz, two independent filmmakers overseeing a mainstream project for the first time in their careers, walk a tonal tightrope. They clearly don't wish to fall into the moralizing trap of judging Christine, or pitying her, by providing a pat “explanation” for her attraction to the sex trade. Instead, they settle on an aura of erotic melancholia that plays to their own gifts for behavioral portraiture while honoring the broad tropes of the corporate sex thriller.

  • In its serialized form, The Girlfriend Experience is practically obligated by market demands to generate narrative momentum and spectator involvement, and it’s here that Seimetz and Kerrigan bring a crafty spin that both satisfies and complicates expectations.

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