‘Lovelace’ is the first of two films this year based on the porn phenomenon Linda Lovelace, who rose to superstardom in the early ’70s with the film ‘Deep Throat’. [Ed: ‘Inferno: A Linda Lovelace Story’, starring Sasha Grey, hasn’t been scheduled for a release date yet. –JZ] This bio-pic might’ve been a disaster, but directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman have made an engaging and entertaining look at the former Linda Boreman’s life, even if her situations are difficult to watch at times. The acting is spot-on, and the movie has a killer retro soundtrack.
You’ve probably heard the story of ‘Deep Throat’, one of the first porno films to include a plot, characters and a decently-sized budget. Shot for around $50,000, the movie has made hundreds of millions in profit over the years.
We first meet Linda (Amanda Seyfried) as a 19-year-old girl living with her parents (Robert Patrick and an unrecognizable Sharon Stone) in Florida, where she and her friend are hired as Go-Go dancers at the local skating rink. A man by the name of Chuck Traynor (Peter Sarsgaard) takes a liking to her, and the two eventually run off to get married. After Chuck realizes Linda’s talent, he brings her to porn producer Butchie Periano (Bobby Cannavale) and director Gerard Damiano (Hank Azaria). As we already know from history, the movie they made together became a huge success.
However, as we see in a time-jump several years forward, Linda later wrote a book called ‘Ordeal’ that chronicled her life with Traynor, who she claimed beat and tortured her, and forced her into slavery and gang rapes for money. He also handled all her financial affairs and never let her see a dime from the movie. It’s a sad and depressing story, but not without a light of hope as Linda escapes Traynor and becomes an activist for women’s rights who spoke out against pornography until her untimely death by car crash in 2002.
The film is similar in structure to ‘Boogie Nights’. The first section is fun with lots of ’70s music, dancing and parties. Then, the second half is a dark downward spiral as these successful people hit rock bottom, and Linda is forced to perform wretched acts on strangers by her abusive husband.
Seyfried brings Linda Lovelace to life. She’s elegant, attractive and damn fun to watch. The actress captures the emotional depth of this sad tale. Sarsgaard pulls off one of the slimiest characters ever put to film. Not once do you like this guy. Sharon Stone is the wild card here; she’s physically unrecognizable, but gives one hell of a supporting performance. Cannavale and Azaria turn in hilarious supporting roles, and the movie also has cameos by James Franco (as a young Hugh Hefner), Wes Bentley, Eric Roberts, Adam Brody and Juno Temple.