Working Girls

Director: Lizzie Borden
Screenwriters: Lizzie Borden, Sandra Kay

Institute History

  • 1987 Sundance Film Festival


Working Girls is a frank, poignant, powerful and often humorous look at women working in a high-class brothel in mid-town Manhattan. The women in the film are, for the most part, in control of their lives and their work. Their decision to work as prostitutes is shown as an economic alternative in many ways an extension and exaggeration of “normal”heterosexual codes and rituals. Following the group of women as they make their away through the course of a day and a night in the claustrophobic apartment, we see them less as stereotypes and more as people, caring people with feelings, concerns, goals and dreams.

We also see them in a typical labor-management dispute with the Betty Crocker-like businesswoman/madame, an incessant shopper who pushes “her girls” to the limit. What emerges is a nonexploitative film, told from a woman’s point of view, full of insight, compassion and honesty. Disturbing and staight-forward, Working Girls never winces from the truth.

— Lawrence Smith

Screening Details

Sundance Film Festival Awards

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