The Girlfriend Experience

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domino harvey
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The Girlfriend Experience

#1 Post by domino harvey » Mon Jun 23, 2014 5:25 pm

Starz has picked up the Girlfriend Experience for a thirteen episode season to be written and directed by Lodge Kerrigan and Amy Seimetz (known favorites of Soderbergh), with Soderbergh serving as executive producer

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mfunk9786
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Re: The Girlfriend Experience (Steven Soderbergh, 2009)

#2 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Jun 23, 2014 5:34 pm

Especially with Grey out and someone likely more capable in, this sounds really promising. Assuming that the show isn't built around the same flimsy social commentary that the film was. If it can transcend the whole "let's take a new look at prostitution that's still ultimately judgmental" premise, it could turn out to be really compelling, particularly with Kerrigan at the helm. I wonder if Amy Seimetz will be starring, or just co-writing and co-directing.

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Re: The Girlfriend Experience (Steven Soderbergh, 2009)

#3 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Tue Jun 24, 2014 3:17 pm

mfunk9786 wrote:Especially with Grey out and someone likely more capable in, this sounds really promising. Assuming that the show isn't built around the same flimsy social commentary that the film was. If it can transcend the whole "let's take a new look at prostitution that's still ultimately judgmental" premise, it could turn out to be really compelling, particularly with Kerrigan at the helm. I wonder if Amy Seimetz will be starring, or just co-writing and co-directing.
Counter: It's on Starz.

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Re: The Girlfriend Experience (Steven Soderbergh, 2009)

#4 Post by mfunk9786 » Tue Jun 24, 2014 3:56 pm

So was Party Down - I fail to see why the network is a problem...

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Re: The Girlfriend Experience (Steven Soderbergh, 2009)

#5 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Tue Jun 24, 2014 4:08 pm

They canceled it rather abruptly though, right? But you could have a point. If they market it well (which is like shooting fish in a barrel in this particular case, as sex sells itself) it could succeed.

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Re: The Girlfriend Experience (Steven Soderbergh, 2009)

#6 Post by domino harvey » Tue Jun 24, 2014 4:13 pm

Starz cancelled Party Down because it was pulling in an astonishing 0.0 rating share with 18-49 viewers (not a joke: 74,000 total viewers for a first run episode in the last season)


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Re: The Girlfriend Experience (Steven Soderbergh, 2009)

#8 Post by hearthesilence » Wed Nov 04, 2015 4:30 pm

Never heard of the lead performer so I did a search and was surprised to find out that's Elvis Presley's granddaughter. Those eyes (or eyelids?) have got to be the most prominent feature of that gene pool.

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Re: The Girlfriend Experience (Steven Soderbergh, 2009)

#9 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Jun 12, 2017 10:41 am

Has anyone else watched the Starz series? Once I made the connection that one of the standout performers from American Honey and It Comes at Night was the lead, and the episodes are a half hour long (huge bonus), I took the plunge and am very glad I did. LQ and I just finished Episode 6 ("Boundaries") and are absolutely sold after some initial reservations that not a ton... was happening plot-wise, or with Christine's "inner life" as LQ so aptly described it. The quiet menace in this episode is palpable, and it's amazing how the rhythm that Seimetz and Kerrigan constructed is so effectively punctured when something unexpected happens.
SpoilerShow
Opening the episode with Jack yanking Christine into the pool, before we've been introduced to the character at all, and then letting the episode unsettlingly build from there, made Episode 6 the series' high point so far, and something tells me it's further uphill from here.
If the film kept you at too much of a distance with its naïveté about and introductory level overview of Christine's chosen profession without much below the surface, the series manages to add more dimension and plotting without sacrificing the spare, stark look and feel of the film, and of Christine herself. Riley Keough is a much better actress than Grey where it counts, when the character needs to find little moments to reveal herself around the edges. And while the film was an interesting experiment, enlisting an expert at the sort of detachment required for the profession to just do what she was able to do in the porn industry, having a bona-fide Actress in this role makes all the difference in the series. Which feels especially weird to say, since without Grey as a muse of sorts, it's likely that none of this would have existed in the first place!

Looking forward to finishing out the first season, and it sounds like that'll be all she wrote with the Keough's Christine: there'll be a second season in 2018, but a la Fargo, it'll have the a different plot and cast (with the same creative team).

Oh, and Soderbergh made me chortle out loud with this:
Indiewire article on the 2nd season wrote:"It was always our intention to change the universe every season, but Amy and Lodge have cranked up the ambition, scope, and complexity of the show by creating two storylines even more provocative and confrontational than last year's. I'm as excited as a Swedish person is allowed to get," Soderbergh said.

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Re: The Girlfriend Experience (Steven Soderbergh, 2009)

#10 Post by All the Best People » Tue Jun 13, 2017 1:21 am

I love both the movie and the series, and they are largely different outside of a similarity of shooting/editing style and tone. I would say that the show is more deserving of its own dedicated thread than being simply a run-on of the discussion of the movie. I'm very excited to see what Kerrigan and Seimetz have in store for season two.

One thing I have yet to watch is the alternate cut on the Blu-Ray, which isn't a "director's cut" but simply a film built, apparently, on varying takes and story developments.

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Re: The Girlfriend Experience

#11 Post by mfunk9786 » Tue Jun 13, 2017 1:28 am

EDIT: Okay, there's enough for a threadsplit after all, I didn't realize at first.

Two episodes left to go for us after another evening of binging. Man, Riley Keough is a mega-talent. The episode "Blindsided" is one of the best television episodes I've ever seen - it's conceived and blocked and edited so well by Seimetz, and Keough is just giving a masterclass. Her character's emotional vacancy during the early episodes of the show is paying off in spades now that the stakes have gotten so high.

Considering that this is a 13 episode season of half hour, very well-paced segments, you'd be crazy not to watch it if you're a fan of Soderbergh, or Seimetz, or Kerrigan. And Shane Carruth's original score is excellent, with the music nearly hitting The Knick heights at certain key moments.

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Re: The Girlfriend Experience

#12 Post by All the Best People » Wed Jun 14, 2017 1:10 am

"Blindsided" is just an engrossing buildup in tension and release.

The finale is a real trip. The episode prior to it is another excellent showcase for Keough.

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Re: The Girlfriend Experience

#13 Post by mfunk9786 » Wed Jun 14, 2017 10:28 am

Predictably, we finished this out yesterday. I'm not sure I'm as sold on the finale as you are on the whole - I thought the way it opened was a little... well, I don't know what tone was trying to be established by showing Christine going through the sort of expensive and thorough beauty routine that is not just exclusive to sex workers. It's notable that the two times I thought this show was being unusually schoolmarmish involved cum and wax (Together at Last!) - but it largely had a positive (if realistic) attitude toward sex work that made it feel very progressive, and that came through in spades in the long roleplay cuckolding sequence that concluded the series.

The final scene was the perfect thesis for what had come before it and what we were to take away from our time spent in Christine's world - she was in control of her work, frustrated by her work, enjoying her work (not to mention, she was in what seemed to be very real danger of a client losing their grip on the line between reality and fantasy at points) and Keough's eyes do the best job the show has ever done letting us in to what Christine gets (and doesn't get) out of this career in those final seconds. By crafting Christine to be so in control of her life and so savvy and smart, Seimetz and Kerrigan get away with ending a story about a full time escort on a note of optimism that whatever is down the road for her, she'll be ready to face it down and come out ahead.

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Re: The Girlfriend Experience

#14 Post by All the Best People » Wed Jun 14, 2017 11:56 am

I think the finale simply did a great job of dramatizing the metafictional layers of the sex worker engaging in that sort of roleplay. The final shot has also been seen by some as a hint that the whole thing might have been a fantasy (it's odd that she's in the same location as the roleplay), which I don't sign on to, but even the episode title -- "Separation" -- goes toward the notion of her compartmentalizing her life; one of my favorite shots is that of her being completely uninterested when the client is going down on her, thus showing us how her emotional/actorly engagement is completely separate from any sort of actual physical engagement. I take the final shot to show that perhaps her only real route to sexual satisfaction is through herself. She has largely been a self-focused character throughout the show, so it all fits together. But there's an impressive amount of nuance in the characterization.

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Re: The Girlfriend Experience

#15 Post by mfunk9786 » Wed Jun 14, 2017 12:04 pm

All the Best People wrote:it's odd that she's in the same location as the roleplay
Glad I wasn't alone in this, but I think the likely explanation is just that the John just left the hotel room before she did, or he was in the shower.

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Re: The Girlfriend Experience

#16 Post by All the Best People » Thu Jun 15, 2017 4:36 am

mfunk9786 wrote:
All the Best People wrote:it's odd that she's in the same location as the roleplay
Glad I wasn't alone in this, but I think the likely explanation is just that the John just left the hotel room before she did, or he was in the shower.
That was my reading, but I think it's deliberately left open. The performance/reality divide is a big aspect of the series (and the reality of that profession), so I think that ambiguity is completely in line with the show's aims and concerns.

I haven't watched it since it originally streamed, but just reading of others watching it and thinking back on it makes me want to dive back in.


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Re: The Girlfriend Experience

#18 Post by All the Best People » Sat Nov 18, 2017 3:50 pm

Is anyone caught up on season two? Whereas last season, Lodge Kerrigan and Amy Seimetz wrote together and alternated directing assignments on episodes, this year they've each written and directed their own seasons running in parallel. It's interesting as you can really see the difference in their approaches. Kerrigan's is an austere Antonioni-by-way-of-Ozu hybrid, with several scenes playing out in long shot (both in camera distance and scene length), whereas Seimetz's is more intimate and personal, more prone to handheld cameras than Kerrigan's stable setups. Two episodes into each, I would say I prefer Kerrigan's for the aesthetics, though his story is a political thriller where the political elements are so far rather ridiculous. Performances are strong in both stories.

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Re: The Girlfriend Experience

#19 Post by mfunk9786 » Sat Nov 18, 2017 6:56 pm

Waiting until it’s all over to binge - but would you recommend watching them separately or in the order they’re being broadcast (one Lodge, one Amy, etc)?

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Re: The Girlfriend Experience

#20 Post by cantinflas » Sat Nov 18, 2017 8:05 pm

I personally think you need the juxtaposition of the two styles. It's a fascinating contrast between both form and content, but even further I'd say it's almost a relief to get to Seimetz's more intimate episodes after Kerrigan's alienating and cerebral approach.

Harmony Korine is getting strong praise for his performance.

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Re: The Girlfriend Experience

#21 Post by All the Best People » Sat Nov 18, 2017 10:09 pm

mfunk9786 wrote:Waiting until it’s all over to binge - but would you recommend watching them separately or in the order they’re being broadcast (one Lodge, one Amy, etc)?
As I'm watching as they're released, I'm watching in the alternating fashion, so can't really judge. I'm not sure it will matter in the end.

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