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  • Writer's pictureriawoodburn


Updated: May 18, 2020

Cool, calm, and collected law student Christine Reade (Riley Keough), in Season 1 of The Girlfriend Experience (2016) is pulled into the world of high-class escorting with relative ease. Little reflectiveness comes with her new occupation, just a simple means to an end but slowly it is revealed that her role has a bigger picture. For Christine sex provides instantaneous power, against men who in their personal and professional lives command social and financial dominance. That is how Christine gets her kicks.

There is an underlining uneasiness with Christine, and I couldn't ever truly get to the bottom of her. Is she a woman who would do anything for attention or simply misunderstood? However, when Christine is exposed to the harsh realities of corporate law and the unscrupulous dealings of her boss David Tellis (Paul Sparks), you can’t help but be aware of her vulnerability. This is intensified when Christine is subject to revenge porn and humiliated at work, her momentous breakdown in front of her colleague is a tsunami of shame and pity.

The Girlfriend Experience does a fine job of taking three separate narratives, with the same theme and making them into expert stories in their own right. The only similarity is that sex plays a major part of the protagonist, as a professional escort. A mixture of thriller and personal drama, Season 1 is very literal whilst Season 3 becomes more abstract. The sex scenes are relevant, portraying the protagonist’s emotions and intentions, as well as moving the story along. In every situation, the female leads refuse to be victims, and despite hardships, fight to the bitter end. At the end of the final episode, you have the sense that there is more to tell. Rather than the series resolving, it feels like a continuation of another scene whereby a new narrative is about to start.

(Photography: Transactional Pictures)

The Girlfriend Experience, 2016 (TV), Transactional Pictures


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