The Dark Side of Porn: Season 1, Episode 2

Diary of a Porn Virgin (26 Apr. 2005)

TV Episode  |   |  Documentary
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Episode credited cast:
Joe A. ...
Himself (as Joe)
Phil Barry ...
Frankie ...
Herself (as Sahara)
Laura Michaels ...
Herself (as Laura)
Andrea Oliver ...
Narrator (voice)


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26 April 2005 (UK)  »

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Damages itself by being too obviously seeking the dark side from the very first frame
23 May 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Frankie is a successful business manager for BT in Newcastle. Sahara is a successful textile manager working for a big fashion chain. Lee works in a workshop fitting stereos into Japanese cars. At the start of the film they all have one thing in common, they have decided to throw in their traditional careers to take up a career in pornography. Despite being 38, married and a mother, Frankie starts out with a simple boy/girl shoot before moving onto girl/girl and more intense stuff. Sahara's unique looks get her work quickly and is soon progressing well. Lee is finding out that very few men are actually suited to the demanding requirements of a male porn actor. Their experiences are different and highlight aspects of the industry.

Few people would defend pornography as a "normal" job, nor would most reasonable people claim that nobody is exploited within the industry, nor that those involved must have some issues either before or as a result of the job. Of course, I'm sure the majority of people in it genuinely want to be, take the money with any consequences and then retire afterwards. To get insight into this massive business I have seen several porn documentaries – some are just simple titillation that use the documentary guise to serve up clips and nudity. Some are genuinely interesting, acting as a non-judgemental eye that captures good and bad and just allows the industry to come across as it is. Some though, start with an anti-porn stance that basically colours everything about the whole film; sadly Diary of a Porn Virgin is one of these and the desire it shows to talk up the sinister side actually damages the case it is trying to make. It is a shame because it does have interesting elements but it can't help but hurt because it feels like everything is being spun into the film's agenda.

Specifically the problem is Frankie. Although Sahara and Lee are briefly followed, 90% of the film is spent with Frankie and she feels from start to finish like she is at least partly a plant. Her decision to leave a job that has her driving a Porsche is never convincingly explained; her refusal to do lesbian and anal (standard requirements for porn surely?) made me wonder what made her think she should do it. Likewise her sudden breakdowns and movements of her boundaries are just totally unconvincing – as indeed, she is as a person. I'm sure she is not a total plant but there is never a doubt that she will give the producers just what they were looking for. Conversely Sahara and Lee just do OK and the film never really bothers with them – Lee gets followed on an audition but nothing more than that, while the producers try and fail to make something out of the fact that Sahara has a Muslim background.

Overall this was a disappointing film that spoils it for itself by trying to find the dark side by pushing rather than just watching. Too much of it is forced, not helped by the overly sinister music and the "tut-tutting" narration from Oliver. If you want to see into the world of porn and see a negative message then I can recommend "Hardcore", a film that is infinitely better than this rather poor affair.

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