Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Canal Street Madam (2010)

Director: Cameron Yates

Writer: ???

Composer: T. Griffin

Starring: Jeanette Maier, her mom and daughter

More info: IMDb

Plot: An FBI raid on Jeanette Maier's infamous family-run brothel in New Orleans destroyed her livelihood. Stigmatized by felony, fearing recrimination from clients & determined to protect her children, Jeanette sets out to reinvent herself.

My rating: 5.5/10

Will I watch it again? No.

I've been watching Netflix instant more than usual lately and this piqued my interest.  Unfortunately it's not what I hoped for.  I'm a 'give me facts' kind of guy.  I wanted the details, I'm not talking about the sex stuff but more like the inner workings of how their brothel worked, how it started, the downfall, etc.  While you do get tiny bits of that type of information it's by no means enough.  What we're left with is hanging out with Jeanette and her dysfunctional family with a good deal of filer footage.  She's the 2nd of three generations of prostitutes, her mother before and her daughter after.  Hooking is all they know.  Jeanette had been in the business for more than 25 years before the FBI shut her down. 

Since she has been on probation she's been unable to find a job.  Her solution was to make and sell candles for $300 each.  To men.  Then they get free sex.  That's her solution to making money and staying within the confines of her probation.  It's a smart move (if it's legal and she can make it work) but it's practically the smartest thing she does in the documentary.  She doesn't have many options, and I feel for her on that, but she doesn't seem to have the education and motivation to change that.  I could be completely wrong but all I have to shape my opinion of her is this film and that's what it left me with.  The film could have done a much better job at fleshing things out like her trip to NYC for a speaking engagement at a radio event that turned out to be nothing but a bunch of rowdy young men taunting her to take her top off.  She doesn't (sad face) but the edited footage makes it seem like she tried to talk to them about her life and then promptly left.  That's all that's said about it and we should have been told more about what went on.  It seemed like there was more to it.  It's stuff like that that make this a missed opportunity and by the end I was ready to leave and return home.  Why isn't prostitution legal?  It's 2013 for crying out loud. 

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