Tony winning performer and comedian Sarah Jones adapts her one woman stage show “Sell/Buy/Date” for the screen in this hybrid documentary and fictional narrative film. It’s an unusual concept that blends fiction with real stories of sex workers and the societal debate around them. The film covers a lot of ground and feels too congested at times, but the fascinating blend of genres gives a unique perspective on the topic.
Sarah is a mixed-race black woman and shares her curiosity about the diversity of the sex industry. She tells the story of real people and events through interviews and monologues, painting a portrait of different believes and values when it comes to prostitution, consensual sex work, pornography, and commercial exploitation. Her film gives a voice to those who are rarely heard, and she does so in a compelling, entertaining way.
Sarah is an appealing lead, and she holds the narrative together well. She explores her own ideas and values on the topic, including varying degrees of opinions about sex and how it’s tied in with power and race, as well as the debate over decriminalizing sex work. There are no solutions presented, which may feel frustrating to some, but she includes such a wide variety of subjects that the film is eye-opening in more ways than one. Sarah approaches her subjects with an empathy that is admirable.
“Sell/Buy/Date” probably isn’t going to have a broad appeal, but those interested in learning more about and engaging in intellectual discussion on the topic will find it educational as well as entertaining.
By: Louisa Moore