Lovelace (18)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner22/08/2013

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 93 mins

Engaging, smartly directed biopic with impeccable production design, terrific performances and a superb script that cleverly tells two versions of the same story.

What's it all about?
Directed by documentarians Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, Lovelace is a biopic of 1970s porn star Linda Lovelace. Beginning in 1970s Florida, the film stars Amanda Seyfried as naïve 21 year old Linda Boreman who escapes her strictly religious parents (Robert Patrick and Sharon Stone) and marries Chuck Traynor (Peter Sarsgaard), a charismatic older man. Two years later, Traynor persuades Linda to audition for a porn film (under the name Linda Lovelace) in order to help him pay off his debts and the resulting movie, Deep Throat, becomes one of the most financially successful films of all time, giving porn a dash of mainstream glamour and making Linda a huge star.

However, under the guise of Linda taking a lie detector test for her publisher (Eric Roberts), the film then rewinds to tell a different version of key scenes we've seen earlier, revealing Chuck as a violent, abusive man who forced her to make the film and then sold her body to anyone who was willing to pay.

The Good
Amanda Seyfried is terrific as Linda, delivering a wide-eyed, vulnerable performance that is heart-breaking to watch. Sarsgaard is equally good, managing to find a degree of humanity in Chuck, despite his monstrous actions and there's blistering support from an unrecognisable Sharon Stone as Linda's chilling mother (when a bruised and battered Linda escapes Chuck and asks to come home, she tells her to go back to her husband and obey her vows), as well as engaging turns from Hank Azaria (as Deep Throat director Gerry Damiano) and James Franco as Hugh Hefner.

The direction is extremely impressive, heightened by some impeccable period production design, stylised 70s-looking cinematography and a fabulous soundtrack. In addition, the intelligent script, while not exactly disputing Linda's version of events, cleverly highlights the fact that she told two very different stories about her life (the film implies her first book was ghost-written), neither version of which was ever fully endorsed by her friends or co-workers.

The Bad
It's fair to say that the film is more interested in drawing attention to the different versions of Linda's story than in exploring either in any great depth, but even with that in mind, the darker version still feels incomplete and there are glaring omissions (there is no hint of Linda's own drug problems, for example). Similarly, the film opts to finish before Linda embarked on the next, equally fascinating phase of her career, campaigning against domestic abuse and the porn industry in general.

Worth seeing?
Lovelace is an engaging and well made biopic with a terrific central performance from Amanda Seyfried, though it doesn't quite tell the full story. Worth seeing, all the same.

Film Trailer

Lovelace (18)
Lovelace has been reviewed by 1 users
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Content updated: 18/10/2017 17:30

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