X marks the legend
Based on the speculated 17-day stint in the pornography industry, Lovelace tells the apparent true story of Linda Lovelace, born Linda Boreman, (Amanda Seyfried), who was abused and mistreated by the porn industry at the request of her coercive husband before finally standing up for herself and taking charge of her own life.
The biopic opens up in Linda’s younger years, showing her lifestyle while living at home with her devout Catholic parents, Dorothy Boreman, a barely recognisable Sharon Stone, and John Boreman, Robert Patrick. Here we get a sense of the type of woman Linda was in her youth, always trying to push the boundaries but never wanting to go too far, afraid of disappointing her parents. We go on to see Linda’s passionate love affair with the deceitful Chuck Traynor, played with brutality and charm by Peter Sarsgaard, who speedily ends up marrying Linda and convinces her to move out of home. Desperate for money, Chuck forces Linda, 23 years of age, to star in a porn film, which was to become Deep Throat, the first hard-core porn film to play to sold out mainstream theatres, and the glamour and fame that followed Linda after the huge success of the film which is still considered to be the quintessential adult film of all time.
Amanda Seyfried, Mamma Mia! (2008), gives a very genuine performance as Lovelace and the entire supporting cast give quite credible performances also; Adam Brody, The O.C. (2003), is particularly notable in his cameo as Linda’s Deep Throat co-star Harry Reems. The film looks very authentic and has a real passé retro 70s feel with a matching soundtrack; the whole production, from costumes to set design, is extremely top shelf.
Lovelace is basically split into two sections; the first half follows the glitzy and dazzling side of Linda’s short-lived ‘career’ after the incredible success of Deep Throat, the parties she attends and rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous, including Playboy entrepreneur Hugh Hefner, nicely portrayed by James Franco, 127 Hours (2010). The second half of the film rewinds the clock and focuses on what was happening ‘behind the scenes’, the abuse Linda receives from her wife-beater husband and manager forcing her into drugs, prostitution and to perform sexual acts at his beck-and-call, some of which were at gun-point.
The biopic that tells the apparent ‘true-story’ behind Deep Throat and Linda’s porn career is rather short, with a running time just over 90 minutes, and is quite selective in what it chooses to reveal, only focusing on one portion of Linda’s rough life. There are several well-known incidents left out of the film, such as Linda’s birth to her out-of-wedlock son when she was 20 years of age in 1969, which her mother put up for adoption, being one. The film also claims that Linda lived a happy carefree life before meeting chuck, which was certainly not the case; Linda was a desperate woman who felt victimized through every juncture of her life — as a child, a wife, a porn star, an anti-porn activist, and a woman struggling to get by. Throughout the film we are presented with several other misleading accounts of Linda’s life; it hints that Linda did not star in Deep Throat II, which she did in 1974 and is incorrect in suggesting that Deep Throat was her only porn film when Linda seemingly starred in 21 porn films including several before and after she met Traynor.
While visually impressive and somewhat arresting, the major problem with Lovelace is that it primarily focuses on one facet of Linda’s life, her relationship with Chuck, and seems intent on blaming Linda’s parents, notably her mother, for her warped lifestyle, accusing her Catholic upbringing for ‘forcing’ her to stay with Chuck rather than allowing her to divorce him as it opposed their religion. The biopic is all too focused on the glitz and glamour and only scratches the surface of what could have been explored; there is very little depth and significant facts have been purposely left out. The movie ends with Linda releasing her autobiography Ordeal and shows nothing from when she departs from the porn industry until the biography’s release subsequently leaving out the details of her marriage, the moment Linda truly discovers happiness.
While Lovelace’s subject matter is rather intriguing, engaging and somewhat interesting, focusing on some significant moments in Linda’s life, with credible performances from lead and supporting actors and sporting a nice retro look and feel, a better more absorbing and in-depth story could have been told had Lovelace’s life been more accurately portrayed; it’s a frustrating missed opportunity.
3 / 5 – Good
Reviewed by S-Littner
Lovelace is released through Roadshow Entertainment Australia