Eye For Film >> Movies >> Buy It Now (2005) Film Review
Buy It Now
Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode
In 2004, English student Rosie Reid auctioned her virginity on eBay in an attempt to avoid graduating with heavy student debts. Antonio Campos' award-winning student film, made the following year, adapted this story and set it in New York, where 16-year-old Chelsea concludes that it would be "the best idea ever" to make some money at the same time as getting over that first time experience which so many young people dread.
Extended to just over an hour, the film is presented in two parts, first as a collection of sequences supposedly created by Chelsea using her camcorder. The result is so intimate and awkward that it's hard to believe one is not watching a real documentary. The second part of the film portrays the same experience as drama, and is rather less effective, going overboard on self-consciously artsy technique, but Chelsea Logan's performance still grips and the story still packs quite a punch.
Buy It Now is rare in being a film about teenagers which portrays them realistically and manages to do so without being offensive to a young audience. Chelsea's naivete and vulnerability are obvious to older viewers but she never comes across as stupid and her decision making is quite sound insofar as it goes. Her story captures perfectly the state of isolation which many people find themselves in at that age. Her social background is presented very effectively without being intrusive, and is complemented by wonderful set dressing, her room full of all the things which matter to her, the hotel where she goes to do the deed appropriately soulless.
Peter, the man who buys what she has to sell, is not presented as a monster. It's largely up to the actress to express just what is wrong with this apparently ideal arrangement, and she does an amazing job, creating a character whom people of all ages will find themselves able to identify with, confident and capable but simply out of her depth.
With teenage sexuality used as a marketing tool in so many films, it's refreshing to encounter one which is prepared to approach it like this. Buy It Now risks being desperately unfashionable all for the sake of saying something real, but it's gripping drama, for all its deliberate clumsiness, and well worth going to see.Reviewed on: 16 Jul 2007