AMANDA SEYFRIED PETER SARSGAARD SHARON STONE ROBERT PATRICK JUNO TEMPLE ADAM BRODY HANK AZARIA WES BENTLEY
JAMES FRANCO ERIC ROBERTS CHRIS NORTH CHLOE SEVIGNY BOBBY CANNAVALE DEBI MAZAR
Not that anyone has been sitting around for years just pondering what the cinematic truths behind the life of Linda Lovelace would look like, but here is the film that attempts to chronicle her rise and fall. With lots of casting issues yet still an impressive roster of talent, Lovelace feels less exciting than it should. Seyfried (Les Miserables), who bravely steps into the famous porn star’s shoes, delivers the type of performance we have come to expect from the actress who effortlessly goes from musicals to comedy. Compared to Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights, Lovelace doesn’t have the depth or the wow factor cinematically that Dirk Diggler had.
Growing up in Florida in the 1970’s, Linda (Seyfried) was much like other girls her age; she had already proven to be promiscuous for her parents (Stone / Patrick) and they gave her first child up for adoption. After she meets local bar owner Chuck Traynor (Sarsgaard), they move in together and get married. When money gets tight Chuck decides to secure a pornographic movie deal for Linda, exercising her talents. Her first film, Deep Throat, changes the porn industry and makes Linda and Traynor a star. Her personal life, however, begins to unravel and Chuck sees her as nothing more than a tool to fuel their bank account.
Lovelace feels like a plain bagel with no cream cheese and few original moments to make this stand out. While the cast is large, most of the actors flash on the screen for less than a minute. This is Seyfried and Sarsgaard’s film and both give performances that allow us to understand the motives of their characters. Yet no one goes above and beyond the standard level of acting. Perhaps that is a problem in the screenplay by Andy Bellin, who only has one previous screenplay under his belt. Lovelace, while about the porn industry, never lowers itself to cheap or smutty scenes that don’t advance the plot.
If there is a silver lining in the film, it’s a brief phone conversation that Patrick’s character has with his daughter about the film which he confesses to seeing and walking out of. I’ve always been interested in seeing what a parental reaction to this type of situation would be and Patrick gets emotional on screen, which rarely happens. Seyfried’s performance here isn’t the type that is going to get The Weinstein Company a best actress nomination and will likely drop off the radar pretty quickly due to its lack of originality.
Final Thought – Never offers the viewer much to love.
By: Dustin Chase
Dr. Donna Copeland’s
Lovelace is a film that will take you back in time when women were not supposed to think and were advised—even by their mothers—to stick with the man they married, regardless. Lovelace came from a strict Catholic home with a mother who did not have much of a capacity for empathy or nurturance. It is easy to imagine that her daughter would be ill prepared to use her good judgment against someone who is in a position to exploit her. Nor could she expect that the men in the pornography business would be able to guide her.
After showing Lovelace’s early life—the kind of home she came from--the filmmakers (Directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman) use a clever technique in showing the bright side of her life—the one the viewers would like for it to be so—when she is first recruited for making a porn film. Then they re-do the scenes, showing what actually happened. It is as much a story of her boyfriend/husband/pimp/manager, Chuck Traynor (Peter Sarsgaard) as it is Lovelace, fetchingly played by Amanda Seyfried. Sarsgaard is very effective as the sleazy charmer, who eventually gets his comeuppance.
Unlike most porn films, this is a story about a real person, her family, the people around her, and her experiences through much of her life. Andy Bellin, the writer, sensitively and insightfully tells her story from her point of view, as she does not understand at first what is going on, then turns to her parents (Sharon Stone and Robert Patrick) when she does get it, and their turning a deaf ear. At that point, she turns to father figures/business associates, who are the producers of Deep Throat (Chris Noth, et al.), and she eventually finds her way in writing a book about her life. The film ending implies that Lovelace had a normal lifestyle thereafter, but that is ignoring the reality of the last phase of her life, which was far from satisfying.
The cast who, in addition to those named above, include Bobby Cannavale, Adam Brody, Hank Azaria, James Franco, Chloe Sevigny, and Juno Temple, make an excellent ensemble that captures the essence of the porn world at that time with its proclivity to exploit women as a matter of course. Grade: B-