This bold debut film by author Stephen Elliott, a visual love letter to San Francisco, is the story of high school student Angelina (a mesmerizing Ashley Hinshaw), whose choices lead her from a depressing home life and dead-end job in Los Angeles to the fetish-filled Bay Area adult film world. A stepfather with dark motives lurks in the background, as Angelina watches over her younger sister and questions her options. In memorable supporting roles are Festival favorite Lili Taylor as Angelina’s manic and opportunistic mother, Jonny Weston as her sexy but sleazy boyfriend and Dev Patel as best friend and much-needed nonsexual support. The vibrant cast also includes James Franco as a coke-addicted attorney who spots Angelina in a strip club, and Heather Graham as a female porn director who launches “Cherry’s” adult film career with mixed feelings. A gritty and defiantly voyeuristic look at the life of a youth who never loses her innocence, even as she gyrates for the camera, Cherry captures a rare point of view, urging us to consider the delicate tension between body and self by focusing on society’s most sought after objects of desire.
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