Aroused is a documentary consisting of interviews with 16 adult movie actresses. It is not about pornography or the industry. Filmmaker Deborah Anderson conducts the interviews and serves as the narrator of the film. She also appears in front of the camera as she shoots the subjects for a coffee-table book.
The main point of Aroused is to sell the filmmaker’s book. It features a lot of behind-the-scenes footage that showed Anderson asked her subjects into softening their eyes for the camera. Her book is about revealing a more vulnerable humanity than what is associated with hardcore sex performers.
She wants to show that it is art and not porn. This is a difficult task for most of the actresses involved in Aroused. Most of them seem too young to be guarded. Several of the girls shed tears in the later part of the documentary but the tears are not that shocking.
The women talk about their lives. Topics include their introduction to sex, promiscuity, STDs, family disapproval, drug use, cosmetic surgery, and the conventional standards of decency. Aroused tackles the dark side of the porn industry that takes a toll on its practitioners despite the money they earn from it.
Fran Amidor, an adult-film talent agent, said that each time someone does a sex scene in front of the camera, a small part of their soul disappears. Most of the actresses say they went into the business for the money but didn’t say how much they earn from it.
Anderson fails to ask the most interesting questions. Aroused doesn’t tackle the conflicted relationship that most of the viewers of adult movies have with sex. This could be symbolized by the tattoo of one of the actresses that read Filth and Beauty.
Aroused manages to make people curious but it fails to satisfy the curiosity. It features a lot of talk about taking back their sexuality but how can they get back something they have already sold.