Lovelace (2013)

Lovelace (2013)

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"Sorry, you want me to do what?!"
“Sorry, you want me to do what?!”

Twitter Plot Summary: The story of Linda Lovelace, her career in the adult movie industry and the domestic violence she was subjected to.

Genre: Biography/Drama

Director: Rob Epstein & Jeffrey Friedman

Key Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Peter Sarsgaard, James Franco, Juno Temple, Sharon Stone, Robert Patrick, Chris Noth, Bobby Cannavale, Hank Azaria, Adam Brody, Chloe Sevigny, Debi Mazar, Wes Bentley, Eric Roberts

Five Point Summary:

1. Linda Boreman becomes Linda Lovelace. By the Power of Greyskull!
2. Hank Azaria – lovely beard.
3. Tone change – now we see the same things again, but with added domestic violence.
4. Hotel room, Lovelace, group of men… not cool, Chuck.
5. Finally – wrongs have been made right. Kind of.

Lovelace is not an easy film to watch, for a number of reasons. Primarily because of its subject matter – how the unassuming girl next door Linda Boreman is discovered by control freak Chuck Traynor and, due to her “talents” is pushed into a career in the adult movie industry. Whilst this is one focus of the story, the main bulk of it is taken up by the relationship between Boreman, now Lovelace, and Chuck Traynor. We see them build their way up from having nothing to wining and dining with big names in the industry, Hugh Hefner included, and seeing her film Deep Throat make millions at the box office. Other than the adult movie industry angle, so far it’s your basic fairytale story of rags to riches.

But then around the halfway point the story switches. We’ve seen the apparently “happy” version of events as was understood by the people and the media of the time. The second half of the movie re-tells it from Lovelace’s perspective, which changes events for the worse. Where before everything seemed mostly happy and carefree, now we’re introduced to how manipulative and violent Traynor was. What was somewhat uncomfortable viewing in the first instance becomes even more so when the perspective shifts. The domestic violence ramps up and despite most people seeing what’s going on, nobody is either willing or able to step in and stop it.

A lovely collection of 70s hairstyles.
A lovely collection of 70s hairstyles.

Sharon Stone is excellent yet almost unrecognisable as Lovelace’s mother – you can’t say the same for Robert Patrick who, as Lovelace’s father, simply gives off the air of “former military man”. For obvious reasons they’re not happy with their daughter’s choice of career, but then fail to do anything when she says Traynor is abusing her. Her mother’s opinion is that she has made peace with her unhappy life, and thus her daughter should too. Indicative of the opinions held in that era perhaps, but still a harsh route to take. Seyfried portrays Lovelace with delicacy, and embodies the spirit of somebody who has been dealing with physical and emotional abuse for years. Her performance is excellent, but not quite on the same level as Peter Sarsgaard as Traynor. He starts off quite affable, pleasantly charismatic and a tall, imposing presence. His funky sideburns also add to the effect. Then at the halfway point he becomes a scary, demonic figure who will do whatever he can, and exploit Lovelace in a variety of different ways, in order to pay off his debts and, of course, to make more money. There’s also an element of jealousy to it – everybody loves Linda yet he thinks he should get most of the credit.

There is some humour to hand, ironically enough from the people involved directly in the adult movie industry. Hank Azaria in particular has a great character and some equally great dialogue to contribute, but otherwise it’s quite a bleak and unforgiving film. Rightfully so, given the subject matter. I applaud the fact that it highlights the immorality of domestic violence, but the fact that it’s so unrelenting – and regarding a figure involved in the adult movie industry – might be enough for people to pre-judge the film before seeing it. As a story of somebody who fought to have her voice heard and ultimately managed to do so, then it comes highly recommended.

Favourite scene: Lovelace on a “film set” for the very first time. She hasn’t a clue what she’s doing.

Quote: “You know I spent exactly seventeen days in the pornography industry and somehow these seventeen days are supposed to define who I am for the rest of my life, but I hope that people can see me for who I really am.”

Silly Moment: Lovelace auditions for an adult movie, clearly having no idea what she’s auditioning for.

Score: 3.5/5

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