The Girlfriend Experience Feature Trailer (2009)

Feature trailer for The Girlfriend Experience.

Set in the weeks leading up to the 2008 presidential election, The Girlfriend Experience is five days in the life of Chelsea (adult film star Sasha Grey in her mainstream film debut), an ultra high-end Manhattan call girl who offers more than sex to her clients, but companionship and conversation – "the girlfriend experience." Chelsea thinks she has her life totally under control—she feels her future is secure because she runs her own business her own way, makes $2000 an hour, and has a devoted boyfriend (Chris Santos) who accepts her lifestyle. But when you're in the business of meeting people, you never know who you're going to meet...

The Girlfriend Experience is a form of high end prostitution where clients pay for more emotional intimacy than just the sex act i.e they are expected to behave like they are the client's girlfriend. Escorts charge around $2000 per hour for this.

Steven Soderbergh first heard about Sasha Grey when reading an article in an LA magazine about her. At the time of filming, Grey was still working as an adult film actress.  In 2014, Starz picked up The Girlfriend Experience as a TV show, with Riley Keough in the main role of Chelsea. Keough is the granddaughter of Elvis Presley.

The Girlfriend Experience Feature Trailer Screencap

Steven Soderbergh has a vast pedigree as a respected director and a lot of his work is respected for its great depth. I'm not so sure that The Girlfriend Experience is necessarily something that fits into that category.

Focusing on a high end call girl, the movie is set in the run up to the 2008 elections, which is when Obama became President. At the time, America was falling into a financial crisis, and Chelsea, our call girl, notices that her clients aren't paying out for her services quite as much as they used to.

From the trailer, I feel like this could be quite a profound piece of film making and a strong piece of social commentary, but it has failed to hit its mark. Instead, Chelsea comes across as bored and entirely unaffected by her line of work or the impact it has on her relationship. Her clients seem neither strongly attached to her nor disdainful toward her, so there's no real depth to their interactions either.

I see that The Girlfriend Experience was described by one critic as "emotionally vague" and that is exactly the impression I get from the trailer. Also, the fact that adult film actress Sasha Grey is playing the lead is touted about like this is supposed to be impressive, which to me either implies that Grey's usual profession is being likened to the work Chelsea does, or they're implying that Grey should not be able to cope with such a role because of the usual roles she plays. Ether one doesn't sit well with me.

1 min 41 sec


Posted On
April 16, 2009
Steven Soderbergh

Brian Koppelman

Magnolia Pictures

May 22, 2009
Sasha Grey
Chris Santos
Glenn Kenney
Peter Zizzo
Trailer Tracks
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