Co-writer and director Lizzie Borden produced this 1986 story of life and work in an upscale Manhattan brothel. Molly is a Yale graduate with degrees in history and English lit, and a lesbian whose lover doesn't know what she does for a living. Dawn is a law student, other girls are older and have more modest dreams. The "phone girl" takes calls and makes appointments or does the sales pitch, while the other women make idle small talk. The male clients request to play out their old and deep needs, in which the prostitutes sometimes seem no more than a supporting cast--occasionally sympathetic, often secretly amused and contemptuous. The film has a rough, documentary-like feel; it does not glamorize the dullness, pain, and demoralizing nature of the work, though the story dwells more on management and business aspects -- how the characters try to manipulate one another and avoid being manipulated -- than the sex.
This report prepared by David Loftus