l o v e l a c e
23rd August 2013
Jeff Friedman, Rob Epstein
Seyfried, Stone, Azaria
23rd August 2013
I've always been simultaneously baffled and intrigued by Amanda Seyfried. I loved her in Mean Girls but that is a work of genius, thank you Ms Fey. Mama Mia I couldn't watch, I had to sit through Les Mis for Broken Shark and Dear John, well that's just not my cup of tea. However Seyfried is an interesting actor. She also has the word minge tattooed on her foot. See what I mean? Baffling. Prior to the preview of Lovelace I read an interview with Seyfried where she said Lovelace felt like the only role she's had where she has actually felt like she was acting and I can see what she means, she is the shining star in this strangely flimsy telling of the story of Deep Throat star Linda Lovelace.
At 21 years old whilst go-go dancing at a roller rink, little Linda Boreman meets the man who will changer her life forever – Chuck Traynor. Trapped with an overbearing mother and a father who doesn't get involved, it doesn't take much to push Linda into leaving and moving in with the older, somewhat mysterious 'restaurateur' Chuck and 6 months later they are married. The warnings signs with Chuck are clear but Linda has nowhere else to go, so she stays and Chuck's greed and selfishness push her into a world a million miles from where she wants to be.
At one point in the movie whilst being interviewed post-Deep Throat, Linda says 'I only spent 17 days in the porn industry'. Quite an unbelievable fact considering she became such a huge household name. A poster girl for the sexual revolution, the terrible joke being that she was forced into everything by a man who abused her in every way possible. Deep Throat grossed a reputed $600 million, and Linda only ever received her $1,250. Traynor may have made more from his vulgar merchandise enterprises (dildos and Linda blow up dolls) but that's never clear. We get a very good idea of the porn world into which Linda was thrust and we understand why she did it but I felt empty still. We understand the abuse Linda is receiving at the hands of Chuck and this is cleverly portrayed in a flashback style device that really is rather effective. It's just that I came away thinking I hadn't learnt as much about the story as I would have hoped, it all just feels a tad, well, empty. I wanted to know more about her life post Deep Throat and felt it was a wasted opportunity, that the directors got a bit carried away with showing the groovy porn scene. The film has been shot in a way so that it has an almost 70's haze on it which may have added to the TV feel about it all, I don't quite know why but it just felt like a cheap film - like a TV special as opposed to a cinematic biopic and that's a shame.
Seyfried plays this part impressively, her baby blues covered over with brown contact lenses and her body realistic enough to believe that our 21 year porn star had a baby a few years ago, she's been brave here and she completely deserves the accolades. A totally unrecognisable Sharon Stone is on terrifying form as Linda's uptight mother and Robert Patrick is also great as her lacklustre, broken father. There is the most powerful scene where Linda calls her father because she was so excited and proud she just meet Sammy Davis Jnr. and her father simply tells her he saw her film. It is played so beautifully by the Seyfried and Patrick, my heart was breaking. Juno Temple is slightly wasted as the best friend although, as always, she is a delight when she is on screen and then we come to Peter Skarsgard. I love Peter Skarsgard, I do, but I'm not entirely sure I loved him in Lovelace. I don't think it is his fault it's just I still have no idea of who Chuck Traynor is and found it impossible to engage with him, even when he was wooing Linda, there was nothing there for me. Supporting cast were all excellent including a fun turn by Adam Brody as Harry, Linda's co star who has trouble, ahem, controlling himself. Chris Noth as Mr Big of the porn world (could this man ever play a poor person?) and the ever brilliant Hank Azaria as Linda's director. There is also a bizarre cameo from James Franco as Hugh Hefner, don't get me wrong, it's certainly fun – it's just a little weird.
The issues raised in Lovelace are extremely important and they have been well handled, the abuse that Linda suffered was atrocious and anything that raises awareness for women in or potentially in the same situations should be applauded. Whilst a tad weak dramatically, the theme and the cast are certainly strong enough to warrant recommending viewing. Just maybe on DVD.
Check out the trailer here.