Pleasure 2021
Title: Pleasure
Release year: 2021
Genre: Drama

Bella Cherry arrives in Los Angeles with dreams of becoming an adult film star, but she soon learns that fame won’t come easy as she harnesses her ambition and cunning to rise to the top of this mesmerizing and singular world.

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Rated 3.3 out of 5
3.3 out of 5 stars (based on 4 reviews)
Very good75%

Ambition, abjection, compromise and insight

Rated 4 out of 5

I’ve seen at least one doc on porn life and more than one film that shows it, so there wasn’t much here that would shock me. I think the most striking thing about the film is how much of what we see could be true across the film industry – women cheapening themselves more or less willingly in hopes of getting ahead, a progressive surrender of idealism, some unpleasant surprises, decidng to work past them until one or does not decide the price is worth paying to get where you want to be. Much of what we see is the maturation or hardening – depending on your point of view – of someone coming to terms with the requirements of a predatory world (and porn is far from the only such world in LA) while – possibly less realistically – questioning the price of her own ambition. Apparently many of the performers here are actual porn performers, which mainly shows in their ease in certain scenes. But there is a lot of good emotional life in their work as well. Anyone who watches this mainly for the sex is likely to be disappointed – there are non-porn related films with more overt sexual scenes – and some might find it simply hard to watch at times. But it’s a real story with a real progress and real relationships that happens to be set in the world of porn.


I was hoping for a bit more girl power.

Rated 4 out of 5

I knew intuitively that this movie was going to contain very much nudity, swearing and some kind of lost innocence. And yes, “Pleasure” gave me those things.

So what did I miss in this, otherwise good, movie? Mainly two things. One, much more clarity when it comes to Linnéas/Bella Cherrys family relations. Two, a bit more girl power. I saw some of that, but if you ask me it should have been more.

I have never watched a porn movie. I have, however, watched movies and tv series and read books that have explicit sexual content. I have, for example, watched the movie “Lovelace” (2013). And yes, I think that there is some similarities between this two movies. For example the focus on a young woman and the pornographic content. So if you liked “Lovelace” (2013) I would recommend watching “Pleasure”.


Must try harder

Rated 1 out of 5

Assume you have no idea where the director is coming from and what she is trying to say. Is this film about a woman who wants to be successful, but doesn’t realise just how much hard work is involved in coming out on top? Or is it a film about how abusive porn — and the porn industry — is?

Assuming the first interpretation: this film certainly shows that Bella is naive. She’s physically uninspiring, unsmiling and ill-prepared. Has she ever watched any porn? She asks for “rough” scenes, but doesn’t understand the difference between working for a large studio and a gonzo outfit.

Assuming the second interpretation: Bella is transformed from a beautiful ducking into an ugly swan. As a woman, she is abused by the industry and eventually becomes an abuser of other women.

I did mildly enjoy this film, but I don’t think it said anything even remotely novel. It certainly didn’t address the wider societal issues with porn (e.g. Boys getting their sex education from it) within the context of a human appetite for — sometimes extreme — erotica.


The most realistic depiction of the porn industry put to film, by far

Rated 4 out of 5

Ever since Evelyn Claire told me on set that she was being featured in an upcoming A24 film, I’ve been waiting for this one, so naturally I made an effort to go see it opening weekend. (I guess A24 dropped it at some point though – not sure why). Considering most of the pre-release press has been about the porn industry participants feeling “betrayed” or “led astray” by the production, I entered with “certain” expectations, I suppose.

First, let me say that this is easily the most accurate portrayal of what it’s like working in the porn industry that I have ever seen put to film, by far. Writer/director Ninja Thyberg obviously did her homework, because 2/3 of this movie just felt like my run-of-the-mill day at work (I’ve been an “adult film actor” for 13 years now) – the majority of the details were nailed, to a T. That deserves major accolades in itself. Of course, the viewing was a biased experience for me, by default, primarily at the movie’s expense. For me personally, the majority of the central segments of the movie felt rather shallow and uninteresting, thematically, and in its actual events. After a strong opening, it began to wander into a rather empty direction from my perspective, but fortunately there is a character arc and thematic turn that gives the movie cautionary purpose in the last 45 minutes.

On the subject of themes, I want to respond to the backlash coming from certain XXX industry folks by saying that I disagree about the movie making the industry look bad. Perhaps the film’s greatest strength is that it does a great job of developing a display of what I’ve always seen as a looming truth: it’s not the industry itself that destroys people who get involved, it’s what the individual seeks from the industry. I’ve always thought that if someone gets into porn for the sole purpose of fame and/or money, with no passion for the actual sex acts, that is precisely how one may find themselves in a vapid black hole of loneliness or unhealthy practices. Overly competitive people have always rubbed me wrong, and this movie focuses precisely on how detrimental that can be. I’ll never understand the need to be “the best” – just love what you do!

This was a somewhat surreal viewing experience for me considering I “know” 80% of the cast, as well as in about half of the locations that the film took place in – that’s a first with a mainstream film. I enjoyed watching all these acquaintances getting their chance to flex their acting chops in a somewhat different realm. Lead actress Sofia Kappel (one of the only cast members who’s not actually in the porn industry) absolutely stole the show, delivering a brave, well-rounded, and pretty endearing performance, which gives the movie a lot of life and value it might not otherwise have. Ex-pornstar Zelda Morrison did a fantastic job building a realistic character throughout the film, as did fellow XXX talent Chris Cock. And, Evelyn Claire, who has always reminded me of young Jennifer Connelly, was the PERFECT casting choice for her very crucial role – she serves absolute FACE every single time she’s on screen – she’s stone cold.

While I felt that the movie didn’t have a lot of dynamic to it’s pacing, and kind of lacked some necessary tension, I still think it’s a very accomplished showcase of what performing in the industry is like for those curious to know. It’s shot well and I enjoyed the direction of the music used. It is a VERY graphic film, hence the NOT RATED rating, so of course it’s not for everyone! Plentiful erect penises and interpreted sex acts and cum! Not sure i’d ever watch it again, but, it stands out!

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Director: Ninja Thyberg
Actor: Abella Danger,Aiden Starr,Alice Grey,Anthony Elias Contreras,Aramis Sartorio,Axel Braun,Bill Bailey,Cammy Darling,Casey Calvert,Chanel Preston,Charlotte Cross,Chris Cock,Claudio Bergamin,Dana DeArmond,Danielle Alexandria,David Freeman,Derrick Pierce,Devin McGee,Eric John Grossbeck,Ester Uddén,Eva Melander,Evelyn Claire,Ex Libris,Gina Valentina,Ivy Sherwood,Jack Blaque,Jason Toler,Jataun Gilbert,Jay Allan,John Strong,Jules Jordan,Juliette March,Kasia Szarek,Kelvin Batiste Jr.,Ken Melvoin-Berg,Kendra Spade,Lucy Hart,Maja Kin,Mana Afshar,Marc Kramer,Mark Spiegler,Michael Thompson,Mick Blue,Nathan Bronson,Parker Stuart,Peter Warren,Pryde Pierce,Reza Azar,Ruckus,Rusty Nails,Ryan McLane,Sean Stearley,Small Hands,Sofia Kappel,Steve Holmes,Timi Mason,Victor Siegel,Xander Corvus,Yoshi Nurijumi,Zelda Morrison