Would you work as a prostitute just make ends meet? In today’s hard economic times it’s not surprising that many men and women in the United States have entered the world of video prostitution, also known as porn, just to make ends meet. The reason: easy money. Others have turned to dealing or even transporting drugs as a means of quick monetary gain.
In Europe, however, many students turn to prostitution as a means to pay for their studies, rent, books, and other necessities. Student Services explores one woman’s story about her financial struggles and the decisions she made to keep herself afloat.
Laura is a young woman in her first year of college with a douchebag boyfriend and no money. With very little to eat and less going for her other than a low-paying job selling cremation services, Laura sets out to find new ways to make money. Enter the world of prostitution, which Laura reviles but soon comes to realize is a necessary evil in order for her to survive.
What results is a complex emotional and physical quandary that finds Laura morally questioning what she’s doing while enjoying the money she’s earning while doing it. Despite her attempts to find love apart from her new job, she soon discovers that both cannot exist in the same world.
Student Services poses many interesting questions about society’s view of students in Europe, particularly France. The fact that tens of thousands of young female students have had to resort to such a lifestyle just to make ends meet and go to school is an eye-opener. These young women are willing to risk their lives and health for their education; but at what cost in the end?
Actress Deborah Francois does a superb job as Laura. Her ability to draw us into Laura’s world, her plight, her struggles, and make us empathize with her in spite of what she’s doing attests to this young actresses strong abilities as an actress. Francois truly had to put herself out there for the world to see, and she handles the role brilliantly.
Student Services begins with a warning that some may find the film’s content objectionable. The film does contain many graphic sexual sequences and sexual references throughout, which may be upsetting to many viewers. This is also the first IFC release I have see with the “IFC Midnight” classification. It’s definitely not a film to sit down and watch with the kids and grandma on a Saturday night.
I liked Student Services more than another foreign film with a similar theme, Diary of a Nymphomaniac, primarily because Laura was a character that was easier to identify with than the woman who became an escort in Nymphomaniac.
In these tough economic times and with so many tough financial decisions that we have to make as individuals each day, who’s to say that Laura was wrong about what she did? Sometimes you have to do what you have to do in order to survive.
Student Services is available NOW on DVD!