Welcome to the Ending Explained for “Pleasure,” a film written and directed by Ninja Thyberg, a young Swedish director who has been carving her way in the industry with titles such as Pleasure and Hot Chicks. The film stars Sofia Kappel, Zelda Morrison, Evelyn Claire, Dana DeArmond, Kendra Spade, John Strong, Ryan McLane, Charlotte Cross, and Casey Calvert. The film follows the character of young Bella, a 20-year-old girl who will take her first steps into the Los Angeles adult industry. We will follow her as she discovers that being an adult film star might not be exactly what she thought it was.
The film is tough to watch, as some scenes are difficult to watch. However, the movie never really goes into preaching mode against the adult entertainment industry, but it clearly defines that just like any industry, there are professionals and those who aren’t.
The movie uses several adult film actors who end up charming on screen, showing they have a presence. However, while the adult industry is a clear focus, it is only the background for Bella’s self-discovery as a person. The film could very much be a companion piece to “Starlet” (2012), directed by Sean Baker.
The following paragraphs contain spoilers for Pleasure. Read at your own risk.
Why is Bella getting into the adult industry?
The film begins by introducing us to our main character, Bella. She is a young 20-year-old coming from Sweden who arrives in Los Angeles with one thing in mind: to become a star. However, unlike many other people who arrive at the city of dreams, Bella doesn’t want to become an actress in mainstream movies.
She wants to be an adult film star, so she is ready to get physical in front of the camera. Or at least, that is what she thinks. We see how Bella gets an agent called Mike and how she is introduced to a house where she has to live with three other girls who are also in the industry.
We then jump to Bella, getting ready to shoot her first scene. She is quite nervous, which is normal in this situation. This is not something like acting and messing up in front of the camera. Adult film stars have to explode themselves in front of a lot of people.
They need to set their minds to changing something that was supposed to be intimate and private into something public and something that is now their job. They must reprogram themselves to do it; not many people can cross that barrier. Fortunately, Bella feels safe in this shoot; the cameraman, the male talent, and the rest of the crew are all very friendly.
Bella makes friends with one of the crew members and expresses having a great time. And she can’t believe that she almost chickened out for a moment. It seems that this is really something Bella can be good at; she is pretty and young, and she has that innocent quality that many producers seem to want in a female performer. Bella starts getting more work, and she also starts getting closer to their roommates. Especially a girl called Joy.
Joy isn’t as pretty, but she is wild, and when she comes to Bella’s request during a photo shoot, the pair begins spending more and more time together.
At this point, Bella realizes that to become a big star, she will need to make connections, just like the new girl in town, Eva did. Eva is just as new as Bella; she has better representation, which seems to be a big difference. Eva gets priority during the shoots and better clothing and many more things.
However, Eva seems quite unapproachable, even admitting she is not there to make friends, only to work. She is beautiful, and that gives her an advantage. Bella knows that at some point, she might have to leave his current agent behind.
Does Bella become a big star?
At this point in the story, Bella just keeps working until one day. She has a terrible experience on set. She is all alone in a house with three other men. It is very clear that whatever this set is, it is very far from other sets. Previously, she was in a scene with BDSM elements, but that went pretty well.
Everybody was quite professional, but this is not the case here. One of the guys has just one camera, and that is it. It feels wrong, and Bella gets afraid and just goes with it. The scene is quite rough and tough to watch. Bella cannot continue and decides to leave the set.
She then goes to her agent, and she feels he does not have her back. She feels like she was assaulted for several hours, and her agent is just covering himself for putting her in a bad situation.
Previously, Bella had asked for more rough scenes, as that would get her more work. Bella decides to leave her agent and become a freelancer. She starts calling companies herself, knowing she has to make a big impact to break through, so she decides to do an interracial scene with two men.
It is tough, but Bella manages to do it, and from there, she gets a meeting with Mark, one of the industry’s most famous and respected agents. He decides to give Bella a chance. And so, Bella starts getting better sessions with very professional clues. Joy and the other girls are jealous, as they are still trapped with their previous agents. She tries to bring Joy in for a scene but makes a scandal when she needs to perform alongside an actor she previously disagreed with.
When Joy asks for Bella to have her back, Bella chooses herself. This breaks their friendship.
Bella is alone now, and while she is becoming more popular, other girls like Eva still seem to have the advantage. During a scene with Eva, Bella gets humiliated.
However, unlike Bella, Eva seems unfazed by her act and just sees it as another day on the job. The film ends with Eva and Bella in silence in the back of a limousine. Bella seems all alone, and there she decides to stop the car and get out.
This last scene could imply that Bella has finally realized that this is not the place where she is supposed to be. The adult film scene is not for her; she doesn’t enjoy it like others do, and she would prefer to make real connections to others in other places.