Gaydar Nation-“Buy It Now” Review

Buy it Now is a mesmerising and disturbing account of a 16-year old girl who sells her virginity on eBay for $2,000 and has echoes of lesbian student Rosie Reid who, in 1994, did the same thing to fund her tuition fees.

Chelsea’s (Chelsea Logan) bedroom wall resembles a year’s worth of Heat coverage and it’s not difficult to see where her influences come from. Britney, Christina and Paris are her idols.

She also has a love affair with razor blades and regularly cuts herself. She’s in therapy, takes anti-depressants and feels alienated from her warring, separated parents. Her friend Stacy (Stacy Jordan) thinks selling her virginity on the net is “the best idea ever” and the pair pick out the designer clothes she will buy with the proceeds.

Seemingly respectable middle-aged businessman Peter (Christopher McCann) would much rather be the 1st than the 51st. He attempts false concern over Chelsea’s wellbeing when they meet in the characterless motel room she’s chosen and is rendered creepy by his participation alone.

The story is told in two halves. Chelsea tells the first half through a handheld camera for her video diary, which flits in non-chronological order from documenting her private thoughts to her arrival at the motel. The second tells the same story as a piece of drama with a straight timeline concentrating more on the act itself. 

So what does this say about a world where eBay are more concerned that the ‘product’ is listed in the correct category than the safety of the seller?

Chelsea wouldn’t be the first person who wanted to get their virginity out of the way. Rarely the stuff of Mills & Boon or triple XXX-rated porn fantasies you could argue that losing your virginity is more often than not an unpleasant, nondescript event at best and a physically and emotionally traumatic one at worst.

Is the first time only held at such an elevated status because of centuries of religious and moral brainwashing anyway? If the answer is yes, why not be practical then? Dumb down the big event, get it over with and move on to enjoying sex.

However much we try we can’t escape the fact that we’re products of the values we’ve burdened ourselves with and because of this Chelsea is a shocking character to us. She is also totally unprepared for the emotional meltdown that follows her decision.

Buy It Now’s realistic simplicity is a stroke of genius by director Antonio Campos. The complicated set up and faux-documentary style only enhances our understanding of events and the two halves complement each other perfectly.

Whether you consider your virginity to be a treasure or a torment watching Buy It Now will feel like a gut-wrenching punch in the stomach. 

About The Author

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BIOGRAPHY

Born and raised in New York City, she studied voice, piano and cello, while honing her acting skills in after-school programs and summer camps, such as Stagedoor Manor in the Catskills. Chelsea has personified such roles as Nina in Chekhov’s The Seagull, Lucy in Michael Frayn’s Alphabetical Order, and The Director in Luigi Pirandello’s Six Character’s in Search of an Author. In addition, she has performed in numerous works by Shakespeare, Ionesco, Tennessee Williams, William Inge, and other Chekhovian plays, as well as several musical productions. At the age of 15, she traveled alone to Ghana, West Africa for one month, and documented her time there on film. Upon her return, she founded the first International Baccelaureate Film Festival for students across the globe. Her film was recognized at the 2004 CU2 Video and Film Festival and screened in Times Square at the Virgin Megastore movie theatre.

In addition to appearances on Veronica Mars and Mind of Mencia, Chelsea has worked on several independent features. She collaborated with Antonio Campos, starring as a young girl selling her virginity online, in “Buy It Now”, a film that garnered First Prize in the Cinefondation category at the Cannes Film Festival, the Audience Award at the Cinevegas Film Festival as well as several other awards and accolades.   Additionally Chelsea played one of the lead roles in, “to.get.her”, directed by Erica Dunton, which went on to win the BEST OF NEXT Award at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, as well as nominations & awards at the Milan International Film Festival and RiverRun Festival amongst others.

In 2011, Chelsea graduated with honors with a BFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, as a drama major in the Stella Adler Studio with a Business of Entertainment Media minor from Stern Business School. She is currently living and working in Los Angeles and New York.