Movie Review: Pleasure (2021)
Synopsis: A 19-year-old woman from Sweden assumes the alias Bella Cherry and tries to break into the Los Angeles porn industry. Determined to be a big star, she pushes the limits of what she is willing to do, including sexual acts that are both painful and terrifying.
Review: I came across this movie on Paramount Plus this past weekend and, after reading the description, was curious if this was a serious drama or just a soft-core porn film. Since I had some free time, I decided to check it out and, as it turns out, it was a surprisingly thought-provoking film.
If you decide to watch this movie solely for the sex, you are going to be disappointed. Yes, there is sex and it's quite graphic (especially in the uncut version). However, it's edited in a way that makes it less erotic and much more uncomfortable because it's being told from Bella's (Kappel) perspective and while she wasn't forced into the porn industry, it's obvious she's not as into the whole concept as much as she believes she is.
There is one scene in the movie, for example, with her filming a (simulated) rape scene. I ended up fast forwarding through it because it made me cringe watching it, especially when her co-stars and the director stopped being patient with Bella becoming emotionally overwhelmed. The same was true of a scene toward the end of the movie, featuring Bella being the rapist.
Basically, this is a movie that is going to get you to think twice about the porn industry because it isn't shy about claiming the women in those films might look like they are enjoying it, but only after clever editing. In other words, if you like watching porn, this movie might ruin it for you.
Final Opinion: Truthfully, I wasn't expecting too much from this film but the way it portrays the porn industry and how female actresses are treated was much more compelling than I thought it would be. It's not a film you should watch with the kids in the room (or house for that matter) and if you're anything like me, there are scenes that will make you very uncomfortable. But I would still recommend giving it a try.
My Grade: A