Film Review: Pleasure

Bella looking at the camera

Of all the sectors of the job market, the adult film industry isn’t known for its commitment to diversity and gender rights. Indeed, much of what makes it onto popular websites is dubious, to say the least. Porn valley no longer turns out bored housewives and randy plumbers. Consumers want their entertainment hard and nasty, placing the ‘actors’ in difficult and dangerous situations. Pleasure takes a wide-eyed look at the ‘business’.

Bella (Sofia Kappel) arrives in Los Angeles, determined to make it in the porn industry. She’s going to be a huge star and is willing to do anything to succeed. Moving into a ‘model house’ and despite her initial reservations begins to start feeling part of something. Getting her fist experiences in front of the camera. However, when they go to an important party, Bella makes sure she’s noticed. Which raises the stakes, but how far is she really prepared to?

Pleasure shines a light on the abusive nature of the adult film industry. There’s nothing particularly surprising about the plot, but it certainly makes its points well. In truth, there’s not much substance behind Ninja Thyberg’s critique outside of Kappel’s deadeye performance. She carries Pleasure from start to finish. It really is a remarkable acting debut from a talented actor who seems to take everything in her stride.

Pleasure is out in UK cinemas and on MUBI from 17 June.

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