Cherry is about Angelina (Ashley Hinshaw), an 18-year-old girl on the verge of finishing high school. Angelina’s family life is difficult. Her mother (Lili Taylor) is an alcoholic and her step-father is violent and unpredictable. One morning her boyfriend (Jonny Weston) suggests she take naked pictures for money. She balks at first but then does the photo shoot, using the money to run-off with her best friend (Dev Patel) to San Francisco. In San Francisco, while cocktailing in a strip club, Angelina meets Frances (James Franco) a well-off lawyer who offers to introduce her to a different kind of world, a place full of expensive dresses and fancy parties. But that world is not as perfect as it first appears and Frances has problems of his own. At the same time Angelina, using the moniker Cherry, has begun exploring the San Francisco porn industry under the direction of Margaret (Heather Graham) a former performer turned adult film director.
Cherry was shot in the San Francisco Armory, home of Kink.com. At 250,000 square feet the armory is the largest adult film studio in the world. Stephen Elliott, the director of Cherry is a former sex worker who is also the author of seven books. The movie was written by Stephen Elliott and Lorelei Lee, a porn performer who is also a writer and lecturer at New York University.
Cherry challenges assumptions about porn, sexuality, and success, and faces the difficult question of where you need to be in order to find yourself.