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The Center of the World (2001)

The Center of the World (2001)
The Center of the World posterRating: 5.9/10 (4,221 votes)
Director: Wayne Wang
Writer: Wayne Wang (story), Miranda July (story), Paul Auster (story), Siri Hustvedt (story), Ellen Benjamin Wong (screenplay)
Stars: Shane Edelman, Peter Sarsgaard, Molly Parker, Maryjane Green
Runtime: 88 min
Genre: Drama, Romance
Released: 18 May 2001
Plot: A couple checks into a suite in Las Vegas. In flashbacks we see that he's a computer whiz on the verge of becoming a millionaire, she's a lap dancer at a club. He's depressed, ...

The Center of the World (2001)

The Center of the World is an American film directed by Wayne Wang, which was digitally shot and released in 2001. It stars Peter Sarsgaard as a Dot-com millionaire who hires a drummer/stripper (Molly Parker) to stay with him in Las Vegas for three days for US$10,000. The film was screened out of competition at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival

A couple checks into a suite in Las Vegas. In flashbacks we see that he’s a computer whiz on the verge of becoming a dot-commillionaire (Peter Sarsgaard), she’s a lap dancer at a club (Molly Parker). He’s depressed, withdrawing from work, missing meetings with investors. He wants a connection, so he offers her $10,000 to spend three nights with him in Vegas, and she accepts with conditions: four hours per night of erotic play, and no penetration.

During the days in Vegas, they get to know each other, have fun, meet a friend of hers, casino dealer Jerri (Carla Gugino); at night, at least after the first night, things seem to get complicated. When the three days are over, the stripper makes it clear that she was only there for the money and that the man she spent the time with was just a client. Upset that the feelings he had weren’t mutual he then rapes her, which she makes no attempt to stop. She then masturbates for him, achieving orgasm, after saying “you want to see real? I’ll show you real.” The next day he returns home heartbroken.

The movie ends with his return to the strip club to see the woman he fell in love with again. She greets him fondly but interacts with him the way she did when they first met, as a stripper and a client ordering a lap dance.

Because the film is shown in a non-linear format, it is left to the viewer to interpret the ending as they choose. One could believe that the film ends with the meeting at the strip club and a chance for the two characters to have a real relationship together, or one could believe that the strip club meeting occurred earlier in time and the film ends with the characters going their separate ways in life.


Peter Sarsgaard, Molly Parker, Carla Gugino, Balthazar Getty

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