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.
(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.
Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman
Amanda Seyfried, Peter Sarsgaard, Juno Temple