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For those of you who are not in the adult industry (I am) and have
reviewed this film as not representative of what life is really like in
the industry... How do you know? It's like me writing a review about a
movie that has a medical theme and saying that it's not accurate
because of the experiences I have had with doctors...
There is every type of woman and man in this industry. Most often media portrays us to be drug addicts and low lives. In About Cherry, it is shown that there is not one outcome. The film shows that a woman can make a healthy choice when presented with less favorable situations. All too often we only get to see those whose lives fall about, and thus the film perpetuates the stereotype of the Sex Worker. We are not who you think! I read quite a few of these reviews and I am aware that as soon as a film comes out to show a woman in the sex industry to be strong and come out on top, it gets trashed. The reason being it challenges those stereotypes that people hold on to so very strongly. Not long ago, gays and blacks were portrayed the same way in the media. ie... the villain was always some crazed lesbian or cross dresser. We love to vilify that what we don't understand.
Whether you like the film itself or not, is one thing. But please don't tell me it's not realistic until you've worked 10 to 20 years in the industry and know what your talking about.
Sorry, I know this sounds like a soap box, but it's so very crazy how many people will talk about an issue they know nothing of. I liked About Cherry. If nothing more than for the message. But it was entertaining, honest, and offered up a side of the sex industry that most don't see... and besides, it has Heather Graham in it, how can you go wrong with her?
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Someday a movie is going to be made that will take us inside the adult
film industry to show us the reality of what goes on there, and what
happens to the people who operate within it. When that film comes, let
us hope that it answers the most basic fundamental questions that we
the audience will have: How and why does someone get into that
industry? What is their home life like? How does it effect their
married life? What about their children? Are they worried about raising
children while explaining what mommy does for a living? Are they
worried about AIDS? How do you move into other profession while still
carrying the stigma of being a "porn star" along with you? What happens
when you reach the inevitable age when you are no longer sexy and
photogenic? What then? That movie is still to be made because clearly
"About Cherry" answers none of these questions. Here is a movie that
promises sex but plays like a dull soap opera with a little nudity
thrown in here and there. It claims to be a portrait of one woman's
journey into becoming an adult film star but comes off as slow,
uninteresting and anti-climactic. It doesn't have any characters for us
to care about nor any of the "good parts" that a lot of moviegoers will
be hoping for.
The movie stars Ashley Hinsaw as Angelina, a twenty-something who lives at home with her alcoholic mother (Lili Taylor) and her mom's abusive boyfriend. That situation is hardly explored at all. We see the mother hugging the toilet and the boyfriend stomping about the house like an angry bear (we see him only in shadow). Then we briefly meet Angelina's little sister whom she cares about but not enough to get her out of this unhappy household.
One day, cash-strapped Angelina gets a slight suggestion from her current boyfriend (Jonny Weston), that she try a nude photoshoot with a company that runs a porn site. Why not? It might be an easy way to make money. She does and with the money packs up her things and heads for San Francisco with her best friend Andrew (Dev Patel of Slumdog Millionaire).
In The City by the Bay, she goes to a lavish party where she meets two people. First is Francis (James Franco), a lawyer with cocaine addiction, who gives her expensive dresses and takes her to lavish parties. He soon becomes her new boyfriend. The other is Margaret (Heather Graham), who directs porn films and suggests that Angelina might perfect to star in her next film. It isn't long before she finds herself embroiled in the business under the name Cherry.
What happens next is exactly what you expect. Angelina gets involved in the adult film industry and starts making money. As she does, all kinds of problem begin stirring up in her personal life. The problem is that they are all problems that we can predict before the movie starts. It is a surprise that Francis has a problem with her profession? Is it a surprise that mom comes to visit, finds out about her new career and abandons her? Is it a surprise that questions arise about Angelina's real age? Is it a surprise that she catches Andrew having a good time with one of her movies? Do you care about any of this stuff? It is difficult to care because none of this stuff is the least bit interesting, especially a badly written subplot involving Margaret's relationship with her lover Jillian that breaks up over questions of Angelina's age. Their breakup scene, in which they have angry sex, is silly and awkward and disturbingly voyeuristic.
"About Cherry" comes from first-time director Stephen Elliott who co-wrote the screenplay with real-life porn star Lorelei Lee. Their script is a mess. They want to comment on the scummy world of the porn business but Elliot employs a soundtrack that romanticizes it. The movie off-sets a few fleeting sex scenes (very few) with dramatic moments that contain long passages of meaningless dialogue.
As for the sex, there are only a handful of scenes showing Angelina in front of the camera but they are all shot in a sleazy voyeuristic way that goes nowhere runs way too short to be of any interest. Yes, there is some nudity and Miss Hinsaw is very attractive, but we get the sense that the director has gotten caught up in the moment and forgotten that he is suppose to be making a point. The end of the film, when Angelina's world has completely come apart is - much like the rest of the film - one of the most confounding conclusions you'll ever experience.
American films that explore sex with even an ounce of maturity are so rare that it is heartbreaking when an attempt goes bad. Here was a movie that had the potential to ask a lot of questions and explore a subject that we might have found interesting, but blows the opportunity at every turn. We are not far into this movie before we realize that "About Cherry" isn't really about anything at all.
"About Cherry" does try hard to deliver, but it just doesn't punch hard
enough to make a lasting mark.
The movie trots ahead at a fairly slow, but steady, pace, which makes the movie seem to go on for a very long time. Especially where there aren't any particular peak moments in the movie.
"About Cherry" is about a young girl who leaves her dysfunctional family behind and moves to San Francisco with her friend. Here in the new town she starts making pornography for a living and earns good money, without heeding the dark side of her job. With her family ties and friendships on the line, Cherry balances a fine line which could easily tip her over.
The story is average, although it is quite painted out in stereotypical aspects, and it is to the point where it starts to become a daytime soap show; alcoholism, pornographic business, drug abuse, family problems, and so forth.
The problem with "About Cherry" is the characters in the story, as they are unfathomably one-dimensional and just doesn't really show much personality or give you enough of them to make you care. You just sit throughout the entire movie with a shrug and occasional shake of the head.
Be warned that there is an excessive amount of nudity and sexual references in the movie, obviously as the movie does revolve around the pornographic industry. Personally, I didn't care much for it, because it was done to the point where it was too much, bordering on being softcore pornography at times.
Personally, I did find that most people in the movie did fair enough jobs with their given roles, but only a couple of them managed to stand out in the movie, and those were Dev Patel (playing Andrew), Heather Graham (playing Margaret) and Lili Taylor (playing Phyllis).
I am sure if you are fans of anyone in the movie, then you might find some greater enjoyment in this movie, or if you have some kind of fascination with the way the pornographic business works, then this might be something for you. But if you are watching this for entertainment, as I did, then you will not walk away with a 'wow' sensation, because the movie just doesn't rock the boat.
This is a movie that is trying to pick a more realistic approach with
its drama and characters, with as a problem though that neither the
drama or characters feel involving or realistic in any way.
I'm still a bit confused where the movie thought it was supposed to get its drama from. The premise of the movie does indeed let it sound like a heavy drama, in which an innocent young girl gets stuck into the world of drugs and porn but the problem with the movie is that none of the drama feels desperate in anyway. I don't even know why the girl got into porn in the first place. It was not like she had abusive parents, or was extremely poor and had no other prospects in life. In other words, there was just nothing miserable or hopeless about her life at all, so why does she decided to make such a drastic life changing decision? The movie is never really clear on it and lets stuff just happen, without letting it have an emotional impact neither.
So maybe her life starts spiraling down once she gets into porn? No, on the contrary actually. She has more money and friends than ever before, so what is the movie actually trying to do or say? Bottomline is that it's trying to be dramatic, without letting anything on the screen come across as dramatic. What a weird and terribly ineffective approach for a drama to take.
It's as if the movie itself also realized that it's drama and main character weren't really working out, since it decides to throw in a bunch of more characters, with each their own things going on. Some of it feels out of place, while some of it does indeed work out more interestingly. It gives the movie at least some variety.
So no, I actually didn't completely hated watching this movie but it still made me constantly go; what's the point of all of it and why am I watching this in the first place?
And the ending...well, it wraps things up but it doesn't ever reach a satisfying conclusion with anything. The movie just ends, without making it feel like everything is done with as well. The movie does indeed leave more questions than answers but on the other hand, you won't care enough about this movie or any of the characters to truly want to see all of the questions getting answered.
A mostly failed independent drama, that you real easily could do without.
I think this is the most shallow film I have ever seen. "About Cherry" is about a bunch of one dimensional people dealing with the most artificial, superficial problems imaginable. Angelina runs away from an alcoholic mom and dad to become...a porno star, yawn. The entire cast is soap opera beautiful, and the performances are mostly soap opera quality, with the exception of Dev Patel, who's talents are wasted in this bomb. How did he even wind up in this thing? James Franco, (who I greatly admire) will do anything for a laugh or a paycheck obviously. Here he plays a dope addict in lust with the porn actress, yawn. "About Cherry" is an indie film, gone horribly wrong. Obviously directed by a horny, younger man, judging by the amount of cheap nudity and (un)erotic lesbian story lines. There is not one moment of this film that feels real, and not one character that is remotely interesting or believable. But Cherry is hot and shows her boobs..a lot.
A movie about a hot young woman getting into the porn industry, staring
James Franco and Dev Patel? Can't go wrong, right? Wrong!
What I liked: I liked the fact that without watching porn, I got to see an amazingly beautiful Ashley Hinshaw tease the camera, have sex multiple times, show her breasts, and play with herself. I enjoy any movie where young people spontaneously leave the town they have spent their whole lives in and hit the road with only the clothes on their back. My favorite part of the film was the fact that it was almost a feminist movie; at the very least it had speckles of feminism. Cherry is left and called a disgusting whore by a man (James Franco) she was falling in love with, called a huge disappointment by her mother, and loses her best friend because of how she has chosen to make money. A woman exercising control over her own body scares the living poop out of 95% of us men, but Cherry doesn't care too much about what people think.
What I didn't like: I have seen James Franco in a lot of movies (and, of course, Freaks and Geeks) and have enjoyed each and every one. I didn't even know he was in this movie until the opening credits, which was a pleasant surprise. Then, I met his horribly clichéd character; a man who dreamed of being an artist as a child, was put down, and instead became a lawyer. He know has money, but always wonders what could have been. Because of these regrets he is a drug addicted narcissist. If, before I watched, someone would have told me that Franco plays a clichéd part, I would have still assumed his acting would have been enough to make it enjoyable- it wasn't. Dev Patel, although I haven't seen him in anything besides Slumdog Millionaire, was respected in my mind. Unfortunately, he also badly plays a clichéd character. The nerdy (probably gay) best friend of a hot chick who watches said hot chick fall in love with other guys and is therefore miserable. The scene where their roommate Paco takes Patel to a gay bar is one of the most unbelievable, horribly acted, scenes in this wacky movie. The award for worst, most unbelievable scene goes to the part of the movie where Cherry and Patel first arrive in San Francisco. They have never been to the city, apparently have little to no money, and set up an interview for a room in a loft. The interview lasts less than a minute- they meet Paco, Paco shows them the room, they say they'll take it, and they begin unpacking. Seriously? I doubt this could even happen in the smallest community in America.
I can write pages upon pages about how bad this movie was, but I'm getting bored and feeling suicidal just from these short paragraphs. After posting this review, I will do everything in my power to erase the memory of this film, in order to still have some respect for James Franco.
Most movies about the business of pornography are moralistic films,
showing the exploitation that grinds its participants down and steals
their souls (to mix a metaphor).
This is not one of those.
As a movie, it's not sure whether the title character is being ruthlessly exploited, or joyously empowered. She's one or the other both or neither.
A lot of peripheral characters and subplots are drawn in, but all are handled perfunctorily. A lot of star power -- Heather Graham, James Franco, Dev Patel -- is wasted in cardboard roles.
Ashley Hinshaw, playing Cherry, is a beautiful actress, and looks a lot like a younger Heather Graham (no coincidence, I'm sure, in terms of their characters). She doesn't display much range here, and her character is not given a chance to grow (which could be the director's fault).
In the end, it's not bad, but there's nothing there. Despite showing the porn industry, it lacks sleaze; and yet you couldn't call it tasteful. Just dull.
The eighteen year-old Angeline (Ashley Hinshaw) raises money with a
session of naked pictures and leaves her alcoholic and dysfunctional
parents fleeing to San Francisco with her friend Andrew (Dev Patel).
They rent a room in the apartment of the gay Paco (Vincent Palo) and
Angeline finds a job in a strip club and Andrew in a bookstore. Soon
Angeline has a love affair with the drug-addicted lawyer Frances (James
Franco) and joins the adult industry making porn. Meanwhile the lesbian
director Margaret (Heather Graham) becomes obsessed on her.
"About Cherry" is a movie with a pointless story of a shallow teenager without moral principles that leaves her alcoholic parents to become a porn-star. The characters are poorly developed and most of them are unlikable. Angeline is actually a bisexual teenager without any moral principle and maybe nymphomaniac. The situations are also shallow and the movie is neither a drama or romance nor a soft-porn. The only thing that worths is the beauty of the lead actress. My vote is four.
Title (Brazil): "Doce Tentação"
I discovered this movie last summer when Heather Graham was doing some
promo work. Being familiar with the website the movie's based on, I was
pleased to stumble across the DVD.
Whilst I'm sure that porn insiders believe they have a unique tale to tell (including our writer), the reality is that most entrants to pornography come from similar troubled backgrounds. Ashley Hinshaw does a good job with the material she's given. She's certainly beautiful, further emphasised when compared to the stalwarts sharing a dressing room with her. The issue here is that there's simply not enough material to stretch this out.
The viewer can all too easily discern that it's heartbreaking to watch an innocent soul get trapped within such a vile industry. We've collectively witnessed countless documentaries and fiction that's hammered this point into our consciousness. Where this movie succeeds is showing that it's not always a cautionary tale. Is the industry as vile as one would expect? There's an element of professionalism in the manner that contemporary porn companies conduct themselves. This film makes no effort to portray the seedy act of hardcore porn as being produced haphazardly. I was glad of this as it's lazy stereotyping to suggest that in a digital world there's still fat guys calling all the wrong shots behind the camera.
Hinshaw conveys the naivety you'd expect when embarking upon Angelina's journey, but over time her independence grows. Whether it's distancing herself from a difficult family and worshipful best friend, to accepting more personal and emotionally troubling roles at work. The progression seems credible, with minor pacing issues troubling me. It's difficult to comprehend how much time passes between each stage of Angelina's process.
Hinshaw's Angelina has to deal with a boyfriend and a best friend, both male, both with wildly different expectations, but similar opinions of her work. However when the story falls back on their objections, perhaps I was unfairly expecting more than those objections on their own. James Franco plays a smaller role and I suspect he'll be thankful. There's no exploration of his potentially intriguing character at all, which is breathtaking considering his talent and reputation. My question now is what attracted Franco to such a limited role, irrespective of how much screen time it involved? The main issue I have is the quality of the dialogue. There's one particular sequence where the characters simply repeat themselves across multiple scenes which stands out for criticism. Porn insider Lorelei Lee has writing credits, which explains the accuracy and fluidity of the porn terminology, but also the lack of emotional depth in the script. A solid movie could potentially have become a good one. Any film such as this will hope to use the lead character's personal relationships as a crutch, as it's the only way to bring this type of movie to life.
Having recently watched this season's Hollywood Reporter Roundtable for 2013's Best Actress projected nominees, the one constant theme they agreed on was a dearth of quality material to go around. Sally Field, Marion Cotillard, Amy Adams and much more bemoaned the struggles of lead roles worth their attention. Perhaps this is why young Ashley Hinshaw took such a risk to bare all for this movie. It's become fashionable to risk a career to lay claim to a 'gutsy' or 'ambitious' portrayal to pad a resume. Fortunately for Hinshaw this is certainly no Showgirls, but it's a million miles from Monsters Ball.
All things considered this is still worth watching, but don't drop everything to accommodate. The sex scenes aren't too intense or overbearing. If anyone's looking to watch this film only for the nudity then there's enough to sink your teeth into. Hinshaw's got an incredible body and Heather Graham's exactly as you know and love her.
6/10 for me.
There have been numerous films to come along regarding the adult film
industry, but usually come off a bit comical. Thanks to films like
Boogie Nights, they showed the darker side creating something a bit
more interesting. The latest About Cherry tackles some of the same
style subject matter but from a bit different perspective. Will it be
able to deliver the needed emotion to make this work or will it take a
more artsy route losing its edge?
About Cherry follows a troubled girl who moves to San Francisco and gets involved in the porn industry and a cocaine-addicted lawyer. This film is pretty much along the same lines as Boogie Nights, but doesn't have its charm or star power. The performances here are well done, but the film just seemed to limp along at a slow pace. At times it was hard to figure out what this film wanted you to get out of it, other than just sadness. This slow decent of this young woman is an interesting concept for the film to work from, but the lack of emotion throughout just left it a bit stale. Nobody was bad in this film; they just seemed to not be giving it their all to deliver any of the drama you really care about. Most of this issue seemed to be more due to bad dialogue than bad acting. Kudos go out to the cast and crew for taking the chance to deliver an proactive movie and going towards that extra mile to deliver, but there was just numerous missed chances here.
Even with the addition of great actors Heather Graham, James Franco, and Dev Patel this movie just can't handle delivering what it set out to do. With this type of film it will affect everyone different so make sure to head out and give it a shot. If it evokes some sort of response whether good or bad, then in the end it was an effective film.
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