Directors: Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman
Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Peter Sarsgaard, Sharon Stone, Robert Patrick, Juno Temple, Chris Noth, Bobby Canavale
Linda Boreman (Amanda Seyfried) meets and falls for Chuck Traynor (Peter Sarsgaard). They get married, and eventually he lands in jail. When, she bails him out, he reminds her to not ask about his work. Later on,
she auditions for and gets the lead role in Deep Throat, the first porno to have a plot. The movie becomes a huge box office sensation, and she, under her porn stage name Linda Lovelace, becomes a superstar. But, soon we see that not all the gold glitters. We learn that Traynor is abusive and controlling. And, that he forced her into the lifestyle and took all her money. It's a tragic and heartbreaking story from here on in.
This bio-pic is based on the life of the first porn superstar, Linda Lovelace, Lovelace is a solid and powerful film. It has it's flaws, which I will get to in a bit, but let me start with it's strong suits. First and foremost, it is the phenomenal acting from the cast, in particular Seyfried and Sarsgaard, that truly drive the movie. I been a fan of the beautiful Ms. Seyfried for a while now, even if she is frequently wasted in awful genre films like Red Riding Hood and Gone. But, she pulls out a star making performance here, that should quite honestly, be looked at by the Academy for Oscar contention. She fills the role of Lovelace with such pathos, vulnerability, and heart.You feel for her and for the horrible ordeal she want through. Meanwhile, Sarsgaard should get an Oscar nod, as well. He is such a truly despicable piece of shit, that he sickens you to the core. You will want to jump into the film and kick his ass yourself. But, early on the film, he does have a sort of sly seductiveness to him, where you can see where he conned this girl into falling for him, in the beginning.
That is combined by her Christian upbringing, from her parents (Robert Patrick and Sharon Stone) to bring her much pain and suffering. In one powerful scene, her mother (Stone is great here and utterly unrecognizable) tells her to do whatever her husband says as she "made a vow". This after Lovelace runs to her, after she is forced to whore herself and beaten by him (the mother doesn't really know how bad the situtation is, and it's not like she lets her talk anyway). This is just one of many soul-crushing moments that take place in the second half, as the film changes tone completely and shows the ugly side of her life. It's masterful and complete 180 that makes the film a truly dark and depressing experience.
While, you can thank the direction, script, and acting for this, there is one complaint I had. It's the only one, truth be told, but perhaps it's an important one. The movie is just too short. At a little over an hour and half, it
could have covered a lot more, with at least an extra half hour. No mention is made of the "porn loops" (porn scenes, no plot), including a bestiality film where she has sex with a dog. I can see why this subject, in particular, would be avoided, but I think it would've made Traynor even more dispicable in the film. Imagine what you would think, if they at least alluded to it in the film, IE: "What kind of a man forces his wife to fuck a dog, let alone on camera?!" It is also alluded that she made no adult movies after Deep Throat. This is false; she starred in Deep Throat II, though said movie was only rated-R.
Very little too nothing is mentioned about her life after porn. But, it would seem as this movie is really
centered around her life during the fame of Deep Throat, a sort of peak into this part of her life. For that the movie succeeds but again a little more would have been appreciated. Regardless, this is a recommended film, but with the advance warning that you will feel like shit when it is over. It doesn't seem to really condemn the porn industry, as much as it condemns, and rightfully so, the digusting and vile aspect of spousal abuse. It certainly has some of my favorite acting I have seen this year. If you are curious about Lovelace's life, this era of the porn buisness, or just want to see a well acted and potent drama see it.
Oh, and for further research on Deep Throat and Linda Lovelace, be sure to see the excellent documentary from some years back, Inside Deep Throat.
***1/2 out of ****