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.