Coming to theatres this Friday from director Stephen Elliott and IFC Films is a provocative look at a life less known ABOUT CHERRY.
This film tells the story of Angelina (Ashley Hinshaw), a young woman who is working a low paying job and still living at home with a dysfunctional family. Her father has rage issues and mother Phyllis (Lili Taylor) finds solace in a bottle time after time. A small victim of this home life is Angelina’s sister JoJo (Maya Donato).
After breaking up with boyfriend Bobby (Jonny Weston), Angelina decides to leave home with her best friend Andrew (Dev Patel) and end up in San Francisco in an apartment with a new roommate Paco (Vincent Palo). Looking for a second job after working as a waitress in a strip club, she ends up at an adult filming interview. It is here Angelina becomes Cherry and begins shooting adult films.
Her first contact is with Margaret (Heather Graham), a director who has a fascination with Cherry. As life settles Cherry begins dating Frances (James Franco), a spoiled lawyer with a cocaine habit who has no direction of his own.
All of this begins to the relationships with Phyllis, Andrew and Bobby as Cherry tries to remember who she truly is.
FINAL WORD: Hinshaw is interesting as Angelina/Cherry. From the moment she is on screen her character is a mixed bag of emotions. Although her home life isn’t exactly perfect, it is interesting that the choice doing porn came so easily to Angelina. Once that life begins, Hinshaw plays it straight forward and almost seemingly the normal one of the bunch.
Patel has a small role here and I wish it had been larger. He is such a talented actor and being the lovelorn friend is fine but there is so much more there. Palo as Paco is the outrageous roommate who tries to show Patel there is excitement in life.
Taylor as Phyllis is the epitome of duality! She is drunk at home not dealing with her own issues but so easily jumps on Angelina without even knowing what it is she is doing. Unfortunately the person who lost in the family dynamic was her younger sister JoJo.
Graham is strong and sexual as Margaret. Willing to put a stable relationship with live-in girlfriend to the edge with her obsession with Cherry it raw. It is interesting to see Graham on the other side of the camera and character since her role in Rollergirl costume in BOOGIE NIGHTS.
Franco has a small role here and it’s pretty predictable. As a man who chooses destruction over a successful life it isn’t difficult to predict where any relationship with character Frances will end.
ABOUT CHERRY is the official selection of the 2012 San Francisco International Film Festival and the 2012 Berlin Film Festival. It is also recognized by the Northside Festival and the Toronto LGBT Film Festival.
Other cast include: Jonny Weston as Angelina’s boyfriend, Diane Farr as Jillian, Megan Boone as Jake, Ernest Waddell as Vaughn, Elana Krausz as Lana, Nina Ljeti as Nina, Amy Huckabay as Sheila, Veronica Valencia as Amber, Jarema Osofsky as Sophie, Vincent Palo as Paco, Christo Dimassis as Michael and Sensi Pearl as herself.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give ABOUT CHERRY three tubs of popcorn out of five. The story is compelling but left more questions than gave answers. It seemed Angelica was smarter than everyone else around her so the choices she made were a tad confusing. Hinshaw seem to carry the film as the other actors came in with unfinished storylines causing all the questions.
That being said it is a harsh look at the choices made and the repercussions of friendships and relations with family. The sexuality plays a third spot to the triangle that evolves between Hinshaw, Franco and Graham and the emotions that drive us all.
The music provided for the film is by Alina Simone with “Beautiful Machine” and “Straight Edge” along with Jeffrey Russo with “Romantic Abyss”. A surprising bit of music comes from Frederic Chopin arranged by Jim Long with “Mazurka Op. 68/2 in A Major” and “Nocturne No. 2 in E flat Major”.
ABOUT CHERRY was shot in the San Francisco Armory that is home of Kink.com. It is a 250,000 square foot adult film studio. Director Elliott has authored seven books and is a former adult industry employee. He also wrote the script with porn performer Lorelei Lee who is a writer and lecturer at New York University.
In the end – there is no such thing as going to far.