Sunday, August 11, 2013

Lovelace

By Sati. Sunday, August 11, 2013 , , , , , , , ,
Let me just start by saying - I have absolutely no problem with porn. I think everyone should be able to do what they want, as long as it involves consensus between people. You wanna do something hardcore? You wanna film it? Go ahead. That said, I don't necessarily have to feel sympathy or any respect for the people involved in porn industry.

Let's talk about Sibel Kekilli. She did a number of porn films, including some truly hardcore stuff - and when I say hardcore I mean things so far out out there, I'd rather cut off my own arms than do them. Kekilli then went on to do some films that didn't involve having sex for money and won awards. Now she is on Game of Thrones. She is continuously whining about media bringing up her porn career.  I criticize her a lot for her work in the show, because well, it's just a bad performance, but to be honest even if it was great this is a person who will never ever have my understanding, sympathy or respect.
Same goes for Linda Lovelace. Had she shot regular porn, even with 1000 men - that is one thing. But this is a person who shot bestiality flicks. With a dog. This is what essentially makes her dead to me.

Why on Earth had I taken you to those gross, disturbing depths? Because I'm gonna review this movie as a movie - a movie that may as well be entirely fictional. I don't care what is real. Also if I were to treat it as a biopic I'd have to take an issue with the movie portraying Lovelace as a victim. Things are black and white in this movie, but in real life there were shades of grey. And there is a lot missing from the film that would prevent you from sympathizing with that woman.

I liked the movie so that's why I need to treat it as fiction. In fact I think what we see in Lovelace has less right to use "based on a true story" line than The Conjuring. We follow Linda as she lives with her parents - a loving, quiet father (excellent Robert Patrick) and resentful mother (Sharon Stone). A year before the events shown in the movie Linda has given birth to a child that was put for adoption and this is the reason for the tension between her and her mother.
While hanging out with her friend Patsy (Juno Temple) Linda meets Chuck Taynor (Peter Sarsgaard, doing his creepy guy thing yet again). She is taken with him and he seems to be a perfect gentleman. Soon the two marry and Linda gets involved with porn industry when Chuck's money problems worsen. This is how she ends up making the infamous Deep Throat.

The film makes a jump half way through - first we see things as the world saw them, with sweet Linda living glamorous life of joy, carefree sex and parties with famous people. But in the second half we see what - according to Lovelace - really happened. We see the same events again but when before in the movie there was a cut, here the scene goes on, revealing rape, violence and Lovelace in tears.
The film is many things but the one thing is sure as shit is not is objective. Lovelace is shown as an innocent victim of all of this. If you just see the movie than you may buy it, but a quick venture into any Internet board going through the history of Lovelace's actions and court testimonies will show you that this is far from actual truth.

That said, Amanda Seyfried does such an amazing job I was almost close to feeling the sympathy for her character. I don't respect the people who don't respect themselves neither I respond well to movies that ignore the existence of certain events that would put a major stain on the heroine's innocence, but Seyfried acting here was so good she really melted my heart at times.
I think Seyfried is a very talented actress - I have yet to see bad performance from her and this here is her best work to date. She is so natural and likable as fun loving young woman who soon tastes misery and who will have to carry the burden of what she did through her entire life. It's a great shame the film is so uneven because Seyfried work here is award worthy.

Uneven, yes. It's painfully evident that most of the material ended up on the floor of the cutting room. It's no secret that the whole segment with Sarah Jessica Parker as Gloria Steinem was taken out entirely out of the movie. Furthermore, Chloe Sevigny appears in the film for mere 5 seconds. And that's Chloe fucking Sevigny!
All those actors show up and you can't help but feel that there was more - more scenes, more footage, but they are not in the movie for some reason. I really don't know why that is - ending credits aside, the whole film is 85 minutes long. Surely they could have added more things to it. While the first half of the film is fairly consistent, when we jump to Lovelace's side of the story the film is just all over the place.

While I'm fairly certain James Franco is in the film just to be able to say he played Hugh Hefner, it's a shame that Sharon Stone and Robert Patrick didn't have more to do. They are both clearly devoted to the parts they are playing and they are excellent as Linda's parents. The phone conversation between Linda and her father where he tells her he saw her movie is far and away the film's best scene.
Eric Roberts and Wes Bentley's parts were reduced to mere cameos. The three actors who don't have much to do but still managed to pull off good performances and add a lot of humour to the movie were Chris Noth, Hank Azaria and Bobby Cannavale as the three producers who seem to be delicate angels in comparison to Linda's abusive ass of a husband.

Adam Brody stars as Linda's likable partner in the movie, while Peter Sarsgaard is slowly becoming really tiresome - all he does is creeping out young women with weird sex stuff. He's like psychotic, perverted version of Johnny Depp in the sense it's always the same with this guy. Still, the cast elevates the movie. I'm not sure the script is to blame. I'm sure the two directors are, as they seem to have removed valuable material from the film and left it, well, merely a skeleton without much meat.
The film has great cinematography and lovely atmosphere - it really feels like it was shot in 70's with warm colors and all the colorful costumes. The music is not very memorable, though. One thing that I thought was overdone was make up - Seyfried looks absolutely horrible during polygraph scenes and the events taking place 6 years after Deep Throat and that wasn't realistic at all, considering she looked lovely in the first half of the film.

Lovelace is an interesting film, but the two reasons to see it are mostly great ambiance and fantastic cast. But sadly, you won't be presented with historical truth or exceptional film making in this one.

Lovelace
(2013, 92 min)
Plot: The story of Linda Lovelace, who is used and abused by the porn industry at the behest of her coercive husband, before taking control of her life.
Directors: Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman
Writer: Andy Bellin
Stars: Amanda Seyfried, Peter Sarsgaard, Juno Temple


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26 comments:

  1. I do like Amanda Seyfried though I wish she would do better films as I think she's got the talent to be in good movies. I have no problem with porn at all. Besides, I would watch a million lame porno films than anything else that is starring Adam Sandler at this moment.

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  2. Glad that you appear to have the same issues I have (and I have yet to watch the film although I will). I've read various histories on the porn industry (who'd have thunk someone would look at porn through a historical lens) and several people have contradicted Lovelace's "abuse." Even Chuck Traynor's second wife, porn star Marilyn Chambers, never alleged abuse. Good review and I look forward to watching the film.

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    1. I don't have that much problem with abuse claims, as it may have happened but the film just ignores things that definitely happened.

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  3. Lovelace is a film I am very curious about, but not rushing to see it. I'm glad you talk about the dual aspects of the film though and how it's not necessarily 100% truth. From what I've read of Lovelace, she's a bit of a "I'm a victim" seeker, and while I don't deny she had some shit to fight through, the whole story isn't just HER story. She willingly put herself into all sorts of positions and like you said, if someone's willing to fuck a dog, you can't be too surprised that people use you for sex. Or I guess, you would be surprised because who wants to bang a lady who banged a pooch?

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    1. I really stopped feeling bad for her once I read about the dog thing and that was even before Deep Throat was shot.

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  4. Hmmm ... based on this post, I am somewhat interested in this movie despite your less than glowing review. Mainly because I am intrigued by the concept of telling this story from two perspectives (what the public saw/what really happened). The cast also looks good.

    I'm not sure what my opinion is about the porn industry overall or about the people who do the especially hardcore (albeit consensual) stuff. It's a complicated issue. But I am definitely with you about the bestiality. It would be impossible to for me to be nonjudgmental toward a person who willingly perpetrated that kind of act.

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    1. The two-way of telling the story was good, but the second half was much worse than the first.

      Yeah same here. That is just....beyond my tolerance and understanding.

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  5. I rarely make the argument that a film should be longer but that could've done Lovelace some good. You're right, the choppy editing is so evident of some possible great scenes that ended up being cut. Shame. I think Parker could've been great as Gloria Steinem. And giving Patrick and Stone more to do in this movie wouldn't have hurt anything.

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    1. Yeah, I rarely want movies to be longer too, but this one was just so chopped up.

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  6. I'm with Steph, your review has further piqued my interest in this film. An excellent read!

    Speaking of excellence, holy shit does this cast seem phenomenal. I'd see anything with half of these people, let alone the whole lot. Impressive.

    I don't understand about 99% of the porn industry myself. How people get (and take) pleasure from seeing others do some freaky shit is beyond me. But, whatever. The choices people make are their own.

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    1. Thank you!

      Yeah the cast is great and pretty much everyone except Sargaard were really good!

      Baffles me too, especially with this especially weird stuff, but you know if two parties are able to understand what is happening and they are both cool with it, they should go for it. That said I think people who do stuff that is just crossing the line shouldn't request sympathy as Lovelace did, after all she did shot those bestially flicks with full agreement.

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  7. Great review Sati! I'm not interested in this though I give props to Seyfried for tackling this role and sounds like she did a good job. I've only seen her in a few films that I wasn't fond of, but I thought she was good in Letters To Juliet. I don't know why but I find Peter Sarsgaard REALLY creepy and kind of repugnant, sounds like his character is a thousand times worse version of the one in An Education.

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    1. Thank you! Seyfried was really fantastic!

      Oh he is. He is very creepy, I saw him on Conan few days ago and he was nice but he has this...creepy vibe about him.

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    2. Poor guy. He's probably a nice guy and can't help he has a creepy vibe, ahah. I'm not fond of him as an actor though, first saw him in The Man in the Iron Mask as John Malkovich's son and he was rather weak looking.

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    3. Well yeah, but him taking all those roles of weirdos doesn't help with the impression people have :)

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  8. Great review, Sati! And I love your images! It's funny to think that this role was originally intended for Lohan, because it would have been a completely different, lower quality, film with her as the lead. I really don't have much of a desire to see this, and your review solidified that feeling...the trailer just didn't really sell me on why I should care about this story/what the intrigue is...

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    1. Thank you! Absolutely, I think Lohan is great in comedies but she has no business starring in dramas.

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  9. I'm glad you pointed out the faults in this story, because I had read literally nothing on Linda Lovelace before I saw the film, so I totally bought it. Then afterwards when I did a little reading, I realized how things really didn't add up. I love the opening line you used? "Did I do something wrong?" Canavale, Noth, and Azaria's response to that question was hysterical. Seyfried's delivery was perfect.

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    1. Oh I love that scene. Those guys she shot movie with were actually really friendly, I'm surprised they didn't kick Chuck out before for abusing their star like that. On the other hand I read somewhere Linda refused to let anyone help her.

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  10. Good review Sati. I am meh about seeing the film. I think your approach to viewing the film is a good tactic. This sure ain't a doc ....

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    1. Thanks! Yeah they really made her all innocent and that wasn't the case.

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  11. Great review! Based on the general reaction, I'm not sure what to make of this film. I might have to see it and find out. ;)

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    1. Thanks! It's worth seeing for performances alone!

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  12. Superb review as usual. This isn't something I feel I need to rush out to see, probably in rental territory to be honest. From what I've read it sounds as if the filmmakers thought doing a reasonably controversial topic and slapping some big names in it would be enough and forgetting a little about the actual story.

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    1. Thanks! Yeah it feels like that. It really doesn't take any risks.

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