Pleasure is an honest look at the adult film industry through the eyes of ambitious newcomer Bella Cherry.
The film is beautifully shot, full of beautiful people and rich, saturated colours. It also does the characters the rare courtesy of giving them agency and not treating anyone as a victim, which is not how film and TV often treats sex workers. Pleasure is incredibly different to Good Luck to You, Leo Grande, but this is where it shares DNA, the portrayal of a sex worker who has chosen, enjoys and takes pride in their profession.
If you enjoyed Louis Theroux’s recent exploration of the industry, or are a fellow podcast nerd like myself and got truly sucked in to Jon Ronson’s longform series ‘The Butterfly Effect & Last Days of August,’ then there is something here for you!
After seeing Pleasure I have a couple of take aways, firstly I’m slightly too British to watch a film with sex in before 1pm without going “oh golly, a bottom” (thankfully Plymouth Arts Cinema have been sensible enough to have all the screenings after 6pm), and also that in many ways it is a workplace drama. The film highlights different ways adult films are made, and it is clear that there are ways you can do it well, look after performers and be considerate about welfare. In the same way that in all workplaces there should be the infrastructure to look after workers’ welfare and safety.
As consumers we play a part in welfare, in the same way you might choose to purchase Fairtrade goods to ensure overseas workers get a fair price for their work. There are ways to consume porn ethically.
South West sex educator, Sex Debbie has written this great piece on taking the shame out of p*rn, but also how to be an ethical consumer, including a handy list.
Debbie will be hosting a post-film discussion in the bar following the 6pm screening on Thursday 21st July – all welcome.
Reviewed By Robyn Lawrence