Movie review: Lovelace
As we all know, the internet is a marvellous thing. It's revolutionised much of what we do in our lives, but one of the most growing industries, as it were, is that of porn.
There was a time where, if you were keen to see nudity, you either needed to be very tall (to reach the top shelf), or frequent parks a lot where a large amount of pornographic material went to die.
In 1972 however, a low budget pornographic film did what know other adult film had done and went mainstream. It's title? Deep Throat and it starred Linda Lovelace.
In the early seventies, Linda Boreman (Amanda Seyfried) was your fairly typical American teen. She was pretty shy around boys and was a little self conscious about her body, particularly a scar she had on her stomach. All that changed when she met Chuck Traynor (Peter Sarsgaard); he saw a potential in her, and made her more confident in herself.
Traynor soon changed his colours however, when he realised that there was money to be made with Linda. It was he who introduced her into the seedy world of adult film entertainment. Introducing her to a couple of porn makers, they decided to have Linda, under the new name Linda Lovelace, star in their next production – Deep Throat.
It was an unprecedented success for a porn film, but although it made Linda a household name, her fragile relationship with Traynor was to take a number of dark and sordid turns for the worse.
In 1998 a relative unknown by the name of Angelina Jolie starred in an 18 rated TV film called Gia. It was a brave, stark performance by Jolie that got her noticed for all the right reasons.
Although Seyfried is far more established in her career, it's fair to say that many have her choices have been decidedly safe – as her performance in Mamma Mia! testifies to. Although this project is a bold move on her part, her strong performance is somewhat let down by the film's execution.
Its directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman have worked together a number of times, mostly on documentaries. This is only their second mainstream feature together and it's clear that they haven't quite got the hang of it yet. There's a matter-of-fact approach to their storytelling abilities that manages to dull the dramatic. So instead of having something highly absorbing and entertaining like Boogie Nights, what they have delivered is a relatively safe film of the week – certainly not in the same league as Gia.
Seyfried certainly shines as Lovelace, giving a great mature and adult (in every sense of the word) account of herself. Sarsgaard does well too, as the nasty piece of work boyfriend, but without really pushing the boundaries of what really was a truly unpleasant relationship, it all feels a little too generic.
A great supporting cast elevates matters however, with Hank Azaria and Bobby Cannavale giving great head, shoulders, knees and toes, as well as an almost unrecognisable Sharon Stone as Linda's mom.
There was an opportunity to create a really powerful piece of drama with this story, so it's really disappointing that its directors decided to play itself and just pull back from giving us their all.
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