Generally favorable reviews - based on 26 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 26
  2. Negative: 1 out of 26
  1. 100
    This film is true about human nature. It is not universal, but within its particular focus, it is unrelenting.
  2. The smartest thing director Steven Soderbergh did in the making of The Girlfriend Experience was to cast Sasha Grey.
  3. The Girlfriend Experience is one of Steven Soderbergh's bite-size, semi-improvised, shot-on-DV doodles (like Bubble or Full Frontal), and it's the best one he's made.
  4. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Fair warning: I had to see The Girlfriend Experience twice before its pieces settled into coherent shape.
  5. 83
    The thinking behind Grey's casting, with its obvious sex-industry connections, lends the film a degree of verisimilitude, but it really pays off in a cameo by film critic Glenn Kenny, who brings a hilariously sleazy theatricality to the role of an "escort critic" who expects graft for his reviews.
  6. 80
    Her beauty, independence, and stock portfolio notwithstanding, Chelsea’s tale is a timely, tragic one told with typical Soderbergh finesse, a sly, sleek merger of sex, lies and hi def video.
  7. 75
    Stylishly shot on the high-def cheap, runs 77 potently sexless minutes. Its subject isn't erotica, it's commodities trading.
  8. Reviewed by: Perry Seibert
    Stands among the best of Soderbergh's many "little" films, where he recharges his artistic batteries and tries out new techniques before jumping back into the world of big budgets and superstars.
  9. 75
    Voyeurism is a favorite pursuit of Americans, and The Girlfriend Experience works in large part because it indulges that pastime. The fascination with the film is that it offers an arm's-length opportunity to peer through a peephole into a lifestyle that will be exotic and alluring to most in the audience.
  10. This is one of the director's small, experimental, semi-improvised provocations, and if it doesn't push too deep, it's pointed enough to leave a mark.
  11. 75
    Soderbergh's experiments are gripping -- the photography, music, wobbly chronology and so on -- but the movie is more of a curiosity than anything else.
  12. 70
    Grey isn't the first porn actress to go straight, but she may be the first to allegorize her own situation--projecting an on-screen self-confidence that’s indistinguishable from pathos.
  13. 70
    When the turmoil of the last 12 months has receded and the 10th-anniversary deluxe collectors edition comes around, this strange, numb cinematic experience may seem fresh, shocking and poignant rather than merely and depressingly true.
  14. Reviewed by: Ronnie Scheib
    Fascinating study of free enterprise in free fall. While it may disappoint thrill-seekers, "Girlfriend" should still delight Soderbergh fans and niche auds.
  15. Reviewed by: Jan Stuart
    The film manages a career-spanning panache: Soderbergh taps into the nervy impulses of his earliest endeavor, "sex, lies and videotape" as well as "Ocean's Eleven." The Girlfriend Experience has something to elevate and exasperate fans of both.
  16. 70
    A modest success that makes one wish Soderbergh could find some happy middle ground between funky experiments and "Ocean's Eleven."
  17. Moderately compelling and clinical. This isn't "Breakfast at Tiffany's"; this isn't even "Klute."
  18. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    It's hampered by a listless quality and a one-note performance by porn-star-turned-actress Sasha Grey.
  19. The effect is impressionistic and provocative, with the emphasis falling differently on scenes because of our knowledge or lack thereof.
  20. Reviewed by: Kim Newman
    Good central performances but short on plot.
  21. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Though the result is thematically slight, it's structurally sophisticated enough to reward a second viewing (or at least, unlike Grey's previous work, to be watched all the way through).
  22. The Girlfriend Experience uses nonprofessional actors, aside from lead Grey, who is the acclaimed star of more than 80 porn films and here debuts in her first "nonadult" role.
  23. Reviewed by: Robert Abele
    A compelling monotony, but one that's never quite pleasure, never quite pain and, therefore, never quite an experience.
  24. Nowhere near as kinky or thinky as Soderbergh’s "sex, lies and videotape," Girlfriend pretends it has more on its mind than it really does.
  25. Most of the dialogue is listless, and no matter how much Soderbergh snips and stitches, the movie is a corpse with twitching limbs.
  26. 25
    Time for another of Steven Soderbergh's "experimental," i.e., half-assed, films.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 16 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 6
  2. Negative: 2 out of 6
  1. Jul 12, 2014
    bit of a weird movie. Grey is good, it´s just nothing you really get out of it Full Review »
  2. Jun 4, 2013
    The Girlfriend Experience is clear, it's a deep down sex documentary of payers that works. The original camera shot footage by Steven Sodenburgh are eye catching and deeply subversive and brilliant. The Girlfriend Experience is total porno but brilliant and thought provoking in its own way. The film carries various themes- Romance, Drama, Adult, Black Comedy and much more. Full Review »