The implications of sex have never been the same for men as they are for women, and this hypocrisy is shown on full display in Josephine Mackerras’s Alice, shining a much needed light on the harsh double-standard women in sex work face. It is as if the floor beneath Alice (Emilie Piponnier) has opened up and swallowed her whole the day her husband, François (Martin Swabey), doesn’t return home, finding out that he has drained all of their accounts. When she discovers his addiction to high-end escorts, Alice enters the world of sex work as a means of saving herself and her family when no one else will. 

“You’re the boss,” says Lisa (Chloé Boreham), another high-end escort who becomes Alice’s only friend. This statement rings true throughout the entirety of this film, as Alice reclaims her autonomy through sex. Emilie Piponnier is brilliant as Alice. Her physical presence is initially deceptive, as she appears almost timid; but as the film continues, Piponnier, bathed in the orange glow of flames, is reborn. Piponnier proves that Alice has never been weak, and once her chains are finally broken, she exudes such strength with her ability to deliver powerful lines of dialogue in just a whisper.

Alice is an empowering display that features a supportive female friendship, attempts to do away with the stigma surrounding sex work through characters that are not ashamed by their jobs, but rather, given independence through their work, and shows the consequences mothers may face whilst operating within this patriarchal society. 

Mackerras’s sex-positive Alice is compelling in its direction as well as its writing, with impressive performances throughout. This is a brutally honest glimpse of what some women go through, an impact of which will remain with audiences long after the credits roll.



CAST: Emilie Piponnier, Martin Swabey, Chloé Boreham

DIRECTOR: Josephine Mackerras

WRITER: Josephine Mackerras

SYNOPSIS: Alice becomes drawn into a world of high-end prostitution in order to support herself as well as her child after her husband abandons them.