Parents' Guide to

Sell/Buy/Date

By Monique Jones, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Unique documentary takes on complex topic of sex work.

Movie NR 2022 97 minutes
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Sell/Buy/Date tries to do something different with the documentary format, and, for the most part, it works. The film is at its strongest when it allows those who are the most impacted by Jones' one-woman show to speak. The film provides a platform not only for Jones to save herself from getting canceled in real life, but also -- and more importantly -- for people who work in the sex industry to share their experiences. The film's most poignant stories come from women of color, including trans women of color, who've had to sell their bodies out of a necessity fueled by the racist and sexist systems that most developed nations depend on in their exploitation of natural resources. It's sobering to learn just how intertwined the plight and exploitation of women of color is with the capitalist systems that govern our lives.

Just as poignant is when Jones finally gets to the root of why she wanted to investigate the lives of sex workers in the first place: her sister's tragic experiences. It's expected that Jones would come to a conclusion at the end of the film, but her conclusion feels more like the thesis of what the film should have been about from the outset. The film she ended up making feels more like background research for a documentary that could have delved even further into the exploitation of women of color, which would allow viewers to digest more about how we as a society could possibly end this practice of harming women. But as it stands, Sell/Buy/Date is intriguing, educational, and eye-opening while also serving as a vehicle for Jones to showcase her tremendous talent for becoming completely realized characters.

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