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Pleasure

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

Sweden, Netherlands, France
·
2021

1h 48m

Director Ninja Thyberg
Starring Sofia Kappel, Zelda Morrison, Tee Reel, Evelyn Claire
Genre Drama
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20-year-old Jessica leaves small town life in Sweden for Los Angeles with the aim to become the world's next big porn star. She achieves success relatively quickly and finds her way into a community. However, the road to her ambitions is paved with difficulties, setbacks, and hard choices.

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WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING?

60

The Guardian by Adrian Horton

It’s an often subtle (even in its many XXX-rated shots) and surreptitious study of an industry built on explicit, aggressive imagery, an arresting film which, though it doesn’t stick the landing, thankfully delineates between the legitimate work of adult film performers and the toxicity, misogyny and abuse the male-dominated industry allows to fester and lacerate.
85

TheWrap by Alonso Duralde

It’s not an exposé on what pornography does to women as much as a harrowing examination of what the workplace expects and allows from women and men.
83

IndieWire by David Ehrlich

Pleasure — which is almost by default the most knowing and honest commercial film that’s been made about the modern American porn industry — is determined to avoid framing pleasure and business in binary terms.
83

The Playlist by Gregory Ellwood

What’s strikingly revolutionary in Pleasure is how Thyberg’s gaze provides Bella’s story much-needed context by embracing the mundane aspects of this particular world.
60

The Hollywood Reporter by Leslie Felperin

Throughout, Thyberg switchbacks between humor and humiliation with unsettling abruptness, but withholds judgement of the characters' choices to create an ethical Rorschach test, prompting reactions that may be more revealing than the film itself.
80

Film Threat by Lorry Kikta

I really appreciate the bold narrative that Thyberg and co-writer Peter Modestij crafted. It is sex-positive, it takes no prisoners, and it grabs your attention from word one to the final frame.
80

Variety by Owen Gleiberman

It’s a coldly artful and explicit piece of anthropological voyeurism, and its subject is what pornography has become — what it is, what it’s selling, why the people who perform in it are drawn to it, what it does for them, what it does to them, and what it’s doing to all of us.
80

Screen Daily by Wendy Ide

This impressive, unflinching debut from Ninja Thyberg eschews the victim narrative which tends to shadow stories focussing on women in the porn industry, instead following Bella’s cool-headed navigation of this treacherous and frequently exploitative world.

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