About Cherry is a film about Angelina (Ashley HinShaw) a pretty girl who likes boys in bands and comes from a broken home. Her mother, Phyllis, (Lili Taylor) is an alcoholic who spends most days lying on the couch drunk while her creepy boyfriend comes and goes as he pleases. Angelina tries to care for her sister JoJo (Maya Donato) when she is not working at the laundrymat or going to school.
One night after Andrew (Dev Patel) drops her off to see her boyfriend Bobby's (Jonny Weston) band, Bobby talks to Angelina about taking some pictures. He tells her it is easy money and no big deal. Angelina gets pissed off at him and flees from him at the suggestion. it seems like Angelina has to much self-respect to take dirty pictures. Yet, the next day we see her heading into the studio to take of her shirt for the cameras.
Not long after that, she and Andrew decide to run away to San Francisco. There they rent a room from a friendly guy named Paco who they found on Craigslist. It is very clear at this point that Andrew is deeply in love with Angelina although she only sees him as a friend.
Once settled in San Francisco, Angelina takes a job at a strip club where she meets Frances (James Franco) and begins dating him. She also finds her new name "Cherry," and her way in front of the camera of Margaret (Heather Graham). Margaret is a porn director who has grown weary of her long-time lesbian love Jillian (Diane Farr).
Some of you out there may still want to watch this movie so I wont ruin the end for you. And yes, you get to see a fair amount of boobs in this movie. It is after all about a young girl's journey into porn.
About Cherry was a film I was excited to watch. It has an awesome cast and the synopsis was written well enough that it sounded like a challenging drama about sex and the pornography industry. The film was even written and directed by former adult film actors. (Stephen Elliott & Lorelei Lee) I really though this film would have a different feel and a more realistic view of the industry. Sadly, that was not the case.
Angelina's motivation for her actions is a huge problem is this movie. There are not really any big catalysts to explain why she chooses the life she does. Every time her character gets deeper into the world of pornography it feels like there is a scene or two missing. Other than having a drunk for a mother and a broken home, we never see anything bad happen before Angelina decides to leave and abandon her little sister. Even when Angelina does her first photo shoot (the one she told Bobby she would never do) she seems comfortable and happy with the results. There are really no desparate circumstanes or overly positive sexual experiences that show the audience why Angelina would make the choices she does. Many of the characters in this film are the same way. Watching this film feels like watching clips from a TV series, where I have missed quite a few episodes.
Another thing that comes up in the movie a lot is everyone always asking Angelina or "Cherry" if she is 18. Perhaps this was the writers' way of showing that the adult film industry takes great care with assuring someone is of age before they make a film. However, it is brought up so many different times it made me wonder if the character is lying about her age.
On a technical note, the sound mix on this film is terrible. The dialogue is constantly too quiet and the music comes in way too loud. I found myself having to man the volume buttons over the course of this entire film.
I appreciate what Elliott and Lee are trying to do here. But perhaps before making this film, they should have spent more time focused on studying films with real story and dramatic climaxes instead of the stories behind the climaxes they are used to.
About Cherry is now available on IFC Midnight Cable VOD and Digital Outlets (SundanceNOW, iTunes, Amazon Streaming, XBOX Zune, Playstation Unlimited) and hits theaters September 21, 2012.