I decided it would be a good idea to seek out some movies about prostitution, to see how far off the mainstream portrayal truly is.
I am not including Pretty Woman in this list because it is too well-known and honestly, it’s kind of just a big insult to legitimate sex workers because it’s not about them — it’s more accurately about some middle aged man who is suffering from a serious case of “White Knight Syndrome,” which is hardly very interesting.
Back when I was a teen, my best friend was a huge fan of Woody Allen.
I remember having to sit through Annie Hall and it was a struggle not to fall asleep.
As you may have guessed, this one is directed by and stars Woody Allen. However, unlike the other films he has directed, I felt this one was at least tolerable.
One thing I’ve noticed about all the movies by him is that all the actors look like real, everyday people. Even though they are famous!
For example, Helena Bonham Carter plays Allen’s wife in this movie and yet she manages to look like an actual person. A real, live person who you could pass on the sidewalk.
Anyhow…while the move IS pretty funny, the whole “ditzy hooker” act became a little played out by the end.
While Mira Sorvino’s character is certainly outspoken and full of zest, she’s also kinda stupid. She plays a woman named Linda Ash, who works as both a prostitute and an actress in various pornographic films.
I was particularly fond of the scene where Woody Allen’s character meets her for the first time at her apartment. I like how when he starts to pry too much and get too personal for her liking, she quickly begins to steer the conversation in a sexual direction as a matter of getting shit done.
She is under the impression that he is there as a new client of hers, so this makes a lot of sense.
When he continues to badger her about her life choices and question the value of acting in porn films, she has had enough of his shit and she loudly and very firmly escorts him right the fuck out of her apartment after returning the couple hundred dollars he has paid for her time.
That’s exactly how I would respond to someone who came at me the way his character did in that scene, so that was pretty cool.
It was really disappointing to find out like over halfway into the film that Linda has a pimp who apparently has threatened, in rather vulgar terms, to hideously kill her and Allen’s character as well, for the influence he thinks he has over her.
She goes to Allen pleading for his help and asking him to please speak with this crazy whack job of a pimp loser because she is scared for her safety.
First of all, if some psychotic pimp is threatening to kill both of them…then my money is seriously on Sorvino as far as who would put up a better fight against the ass clown.
Why she turns to Woody fucking Allen for help and protection is beyond me, but whatever!
I was actually pretty surprised when I found out this was a Lifetime movie, since those usually fucking suck!
That’s not to say, however, that this film was anything spectacular.
It’s my least favorite of these three movies, but I wouldn’t say it was terrible all around.
If I had to sum up the plot of this movie in a single sentence, it would go something like:
“Privileged white suburban mother turns massage parlor prostitute, making huge stacks of cash and saving her family’s home from foreclosure, only to become hooked on uppers and busted by the cops, subsequently ruining her entire fucking life.”
It managed to keep me interested enough to watch the whole thing, but it’s not one I’d revisit or anything.
The scene where she is driving home from her first day at work in the “massage parlor” and she has to pull the car over to vomit is really stupid, dramatic and flat out unrealistic.
I mean, c’mon…
Also, the ending is pretty shitty because she ends up giving up the names of like every single high profile client she has seen in order to reduce her own jail time…
And somehow this is seen as a happy ending where the silly ho learns her lesson and is punished by a husband who can’t look her in the face (probably because she has been the family breadwinner for months and not because he learns about the type of work she’s doing) and all of that good stuff.
I will say that the scene between her and her husband right after he sees her getting arrested on the news DID make me tear up considerably. The whole emotional story about putting his dog to sleep and how he couldn’t handle being in the room, so she did it for him…yeah, that got to me.
But that aside, mediocre film at best.
While The Client List was kind of bleak and depressing in its own first world kind of way, this one makes it seem like a trip to Disney Land.
X: Night of Vengeance is an Australian film that follows two sex workers who have starkly different realities.
The film opens up with Holly, a higher end prostitute or “call girl” who has been in the business for something like fifteen years and has just bought herself a first class airline ticket to Paris, planning to retire from the sex trade.
After we follow her around for a bit, we switch over to Shay, a seventeen year old runaway who is instead walking the streets to find customers and doesn’t know anyone in the area at all.
While Holly is obviously very experienced and turns out to actually be pretty damn tough, it’s clear that Shay is super vulnerable and has no idea what she is really doing.
While there is a lot of violence in this film, I found it bothersome and somewhat remarkable (sense the sarcasm) that both of these women are able to take several punches right to the nose and face without any swelling afterwards…
Well that’s odd…
On the subject of violence, I have to admit I probably enjoyed some of it more than I should have.
Especially the scene where Holly (played by Viva Bianca) is attacked by some psycho and surprises the hell out of the him (and the audience) by fucking head butting the asshole, giving her the time and advantage she needs to grab a nearby suitcase and bash the shit out of his head with it repeatedly while he is momentarily disarmed by said head butt.
In fact, Holly is by far the most badass of all hookers I’ve seen portrayed in films thus far, which is pretty neat.
I mean, she could have been the chick underneath the pink Power Ranger costume or something.
Anyhow, I was really disappointed that Holly ended up dying and the movie was very depressing and awful on many levels.
However, it did a very effective job of portraying the sharp contrast between street walking prostitutes and “call girl” types.
I actually felt like I could relate to Holly’s character pretty closely in many ways. I don’t have as much experience dealing with the life that we see Shay living, even though fundamentally they are in the same business.
I’d say this was the best of these three films, in my opinion. All three are worth watching once, for sure.
As a side note, apparently it is impossible to direct a movie about hookers that runs longer than 90 minutes since all three of these were almost exactly that long (although X: Night of Vengeance felt much longer to me, because of the intensity).