One of the real life film porn directors, Aiden Starr, gives Bella the unique, affirming, positive sexual experience she went to LA to seek. Some of them range from obscene but harmless to manipulative and predatory, culminating in a terrifying scene where Bella’s permission is repeatedly violated in a “grass sex” shoot. Kappel’s performance in these moments is bold: It takes courage for any actor to throw themselves into an exciting and physically demanding role like this, especially one with no time like Kappel. His willingness to push fear shows not only his commitment to his work, but also the unconditional trust between Thyberg and his star.
“Pleasure” doesn’t try to justify Bella’s choices, and it doesn’t blame them for a traumatic past or father issues. He comes from a strong family, and he was only in LA because he lied to his parents about an “internship” in California. As a character, his motives are simple, but unfathomable: He’s not particularly driven by money, and even if he wants attention, he can get or leave fame. His drive is to be the most, a very American thinker who can finally avoid this film in Europe.
A warts-and-all fact that is clearly seen in “Happiness” is the structural racism built into pornography. Earlier, Bella’s manager was Bear, played by the Black porn performer Chris Cock, explains that he is “more of an amulet” than a man. And in a checklist Bella filled out before a shoot, “interracial” is at the bottom, the most forbidden action a porn actor can do — more radical, though, than double penetration into anal . The theme of “extreme” sex is repeated throughout “Happiness,” which leads to one of her more opinionated feminist statements: The desire for extremity for extremity’s sake in this film feels legitimately dangerous, a nightmare spiral. of degradation where ambitious young women are forced to choose between personal boundaries and professional success.