'Lovelace' Review: Biopic Condemns Seedy Porn World, Abuse Behind 'Deep Throat'
Before you jump to conclusions that Lovelace is a biopic strictly about the porn industry and Linda Lovelace’s role in it, remember not to judge a film by its trailer. It’s more than an indictment of the pornography business; the film is actually an indictment and exposure on marital abuse at its greatest.
Linda Lovelace is said to be the most famous porn star of all-time because of her role in the 1972 film Deep Throat, which is cited to have made more than $600 million. Deep Throat became wildly popular with mainstream audiences and brought pornography into popular culture. It also put Lovelace at the top of the Hollywood A-list in the '70s.
Based on Lovelace’s tell-all book titled Ordeal, directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman (1995’s The Celluloid Closet) and screenwriter Andy Bellin unconsciously break the film down into two parts. At a short 92 minutes, the first part focuses on how Linda (Amanda Seyfried) met her husband Chuck Traynor (an excellent Peter Sarsgaard) and how the couple made it into the porn business. What’s more intriguing is how this section focuses on the several production issues in making the 1972 film Deep Throat.
The second part of the film is completely different. We see how Chuck physically and sexually abused Linda, making her do certain acts for money and persuading her to do other porn films to feed their debt. What’s more chilling is the scene where Linda visits her mother Dorothy Boreman (an unrecognizable Sharon Stone), begging for help to get away from her abusive husband. Dorothy just shrugs it off and tells Linda to go back home to her husband, so he doesn’t get angry again.
Seyfried is excellent portraying Lovelace, even though the actress is far too pretty to have a remarkable resemblance to the porn star. We see Seyfried giving it her all; hitting emotional levels I’ve personally never seen in any of her other films.
Sarsgaard is equally fantastic as the abusive drug-addict husband to Linda. I’ve typically seen him in gentler roles like Garden State and An Education, so to see him here proves his wide range as an actor.
There are several supporting characters in Lovelace who are wonderful, even in their limited screen time. Chris Noth plays Anthony Romano, the producer who put up the first funds for Deep Throat; Robert Patrick, who plays Linda’s caring, yet clueless father; Adam Brody, who plays Linda’s co-star Harry Reems; and James Franco who has a quick cameo as Hugh Hefner.
The pacing may be off slightly in the film, making it feel longer than what it really is. But having not known much about Mrs. Lovelace before seeing the film, I found it fascinating and compelling. Seyfried impresses as our lead star and the supporting actors fuel the screenplay into a memorable film.