charlotte’s review published on Letterboxd:
spotted a resemblance between sasha lane and joey king pretty early on, had to sit with that for three hours.
in all seriousness though, wow. what an engrossing experience. it had a bit of the poverty porn about it and despite all the clear attempts at authenticity, it really does feel like an outsider trying to capture the worst of something they’ve never seen. it’s really hard to judge the success of representation and I’m not sure I’ve decided with this one quite yet, but there’s no rush to that decision, I just have to sit with it. if nothing else, it’s still really really exciting filmmaking.
for the most part I’m just fascinated with how uncomfortable this made me. not so much in the harshness of these characters’ circumstances, though I think that was a goal, but in their actions. I feel like as a woman, I spend much of my life trying to avoid the situations star finds herself in. the going off with strangers, the placing trust in and being vulnerable around men. that was hard to stomach. I absolutely could not stop myself from expecting the worst and was a little blindsided by the fact that she didn’t seem to share any of my hesitations, even with the threat of harm and total abandonment paraded before her every ten minutes.
the most uncomfortable part of all, which seems so inconsequential in the grand scheme of the film, was star’s first training day. I’ve been in the customer service industry for what’s coming up on 6 years (ach) and watching her just shrug off a sale like that? saying exactly what she thought of a prospective customer? sticking up for herself?! ah! I wish that had been cathartic but I actually wanted to puke. kind of wild to realize how much reflexive politeness becomes a part of your life when you’re used to serving others. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, and that’s probably what makes this watchable for 160 minutes, the expectation of consequences. no one can ride the edge of the knife that hard and not get cut.