The brilliantly structured "Lovelace" is two films. Neither is satisfying.
The comedic first third is a polished turd showcasing Linda's glitzy rise to fame as the star of "Deep Throat." The film then takes a very hard one-eighty to become the grim tale of a battered (and far worse) wife literally dragged kicking and screaming to a porn set.
"Deep Throat" was the first porn film to crossover to polite society from the perv-in-raincoat crowd (though the latter showed up in droves as well). In "Deep Throat," unfulfilled Linda Lovelace searches in vain for sexual satisfaction until a Doctor discovers her clitoris has migrated to the back of her throat leaving one method to achieve orgasm. In "Lovelace," Linda searches for herself. The tight audio montage at the film's open asks many questions about her.
Who is Linda Lovelace? Offspring of a harsh, domineering disciplinarian mother and uncaring, absent father. (An offscreen pregnancy drives the family from the Bronx to Florida.) A naive and sexually repressed young woman opened by an abusive husband. A porn star bearing the standard of the sexual revolution. A middle class mom who desires setting the record straight through the autobiography, "Ordeal." Or an advocate battling domestic violence.
Amanda Seyfried bares all, but is as flat as month old soda in the title role. Sarsgaard semi-phones in his performance as Chuck, Linda's scumbag husband. The film is peppered with cameos from Sharon Stone to Eric Roberts and the venerable Debi Mazar. Their appearances add little to the proceedings.
The resulting film, given the incendiary topic, is politically correct, sleepy, excessively loose and ineffectual. As portrayed, after being released from Chuck's oily grasp by a porn Producer, Linda continues to ooze unhappiness to a denouement that's a half-hearted reunion with mortified parents.
Though a worthy topic, the treatment of abuse is didactic and heavy handed: a path to collar pulling and discomfort.
Factually, the real Lovelace (nee Boreman) heavily promoted "Deep Throat," denied performing in several bestiality and humiliation films until they were produced to jog her memory, posed in "Playboy," and was categorized as, "a sexual 'super freak' who had no boundaries and was a pathological liar." There's also a psychologist's view she suffered from PTSD.
"Lovelace" fails to answer the questions posed at the film's open. They may be too difficult to be answered. Linda may just be that complex. Or slippery.
Given the documentary "Inside Deep Throat" and a plethora of other films and books, there's little reason for "Lovelace" to exist - at least in this sanitized form. Linda was a victim, but here the viewers are victimized by the filmmakers. Now you know how Linda (allegedly) felt.
Biography / Drama
Biography / Drama
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.
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October 13, 2013 at 8:54 am