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Lovelace (2013)

Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment

Theatrical Release: August 9, 2013

Blu Ray Release: November 5, 2013

Director(s): Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman


Review by James Klein

Lovelace, the story about the woman who went on to make the most famously notorious adult film of all time, Deep Throat, is told from her side of the story on what happened to her as she got introduced into the adult world. The movie Lovelace uses her book Ordeal as a template on what happened to the young girl as she was forced into this cruel alternate universe where her husband forced her into a new lifestyle. Lovelace shows Linda as a victim, a woman who has claimed that every time you see her on the big screen, she is being raped. And that is where Lovelace fails: it takes sides and doesn't allow or show the viewer some of the darker, seedier side in Linda's life. In fact, Lovelace is pretty tame for being a movie set in the adult film world. Worst of all, the movie forces the viewer to see only her side of the story which has since been questioned as to if this really happened.

We begin with a young Linda (Amanda Seyfried) meeting and falling in love with her future husband Chuck Traynor (Peter Sarsgaard). Unbeknownst to Linda's strict parents (Sharon Stone and Robert Patrick) she starts to become mixed up with Chuck's shady lifestyle such as drugs and adult films. When Chuck shows a couple of adult film producers a video he shot of Linda giving Chuck head, they jump at a chance to make a movie with her and thus creating Deep Throat, the movie about a woman whose clitoris is located in her throat. As Linda begins to taste fame and fortune, things begin to change...or were they already changed before she even began making the movie?

In an interesting and original way of telling a story, Lovelace actually goes back to the time where she meets Chuck once again. Now, the viewer starts to see what Linda has claimed happened to her. Even on her wedding night, she is forced into bed by Chuck and almost raped. He beats her, threatens her with a gun, takes away her money, becomes jealous when others start to take notice of her, Chuck has become the monster in her life. She can't escape this man and he has made her life a living hell. When Linda finally leaves Chuck, she denounces her brief adult film career thus becoming a feminist and anti-porn advocate until her sudden death in 2002.
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Lovelace plays like an R rated Lifetime or Hallmark movie. That's the best way I can describe the film. It's strange to see a movie about the most famous adult film ever and yet show very little nudity. For a film that wants to tell the viewer what a horrible life Linda Lovelace had while she was in the adult film industry, the movie is weak, timid and almost afraid to get too dark. It's more concerned about the story of a woman whose stuck in a terrible, abusive marriage. Not to sound callous or mean but haven't we seen a million movies about abusive husbands? While I do think that a majority of her life in the adult film world is because of Chuck Traynor, there seems to be a lot of her life that was left out. Linda Lovelace had a child at the age of 19 and was forced to give the baby up for adoption. While this was mentioned in the movie, it is done so very briefly and never shown. Before Deep Throat, Linda made numerous 8  mm loops of her performing with dogs. She even did a golden shower loop called Piss Orgy. And Lovelace wants to make you think she quit the adult world after she spoke to her heart broken father right after Deep Throat when in fact she made the R rated sequel Deep Throat II as well as the X rated comedy Linda Lovelace For President.
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While I had issues with the screenplay and the bland generic direction, the performers do their best for the most part. Amanda Seyfried does a great job playing Lovelace and Peter Sarsgaard is especially scummy as Chuck Traynor. The movie is loaded with various cameos and bit parts by several actors including Eric Roberts, Chris Noth, Hank Azaria, Adam Brody, Debi Mazar, and Wes Bentley. I did find James Franco to be an odd choice to play Hugh Hefner. Not sure what the film makers were smoking when they came up with that casting decision. The art direction is especially great, making the entire film look like the 1970's, especially with the recreation of scenes lifted right from Deep Throat.
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The blu ray of Lovelace looks really good but some viewers may find the film to be a bit grainy. This is because the film was shot on...film! The film makers wanted the movie to look just like an older film and with that they succeed. There are no issues with the sound as the dialog sounds crisp and clear. There is a very brief and almost pointless "making of" that offers very little information on the making of the film. Now rumor has it there was much more footage shot for Lovelace including a scene with Sarah Jessica Parker as a feminist journalist but was cut out of the film. Why aren't there any deleted scenes then?
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While I did not hate Lovelace, I couldn't help but be disappointed. It didn't feel dark enough, gritty enough. Instead of a movie about a tortured young girl thrust into the adult world, the viewer gets another battered woman story and how she triumphed over her abusive husband. The movie tries to pull on the heart strings of its audience instead of taking a non objective view on the woman's life.

[Rating: 2]

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