So did she really have a clitoris located at the bottom of her throat?
Remember that porno back in the 70’s that started a phenomenon of pervs getting away with watching people bang on-screen and have be it considered “art”, Deep Throat? Well, the main star of that “film” was Linda Lovelace (Amanda Seyfried) who was more than just a gal who gave very good head. Nope, actually, believe it or not, she was once a small-town, Christian gal from the suburbs that just so happened to get caught up in an older man named Chuck Traynor (Peter Sarsgaard). They fall madly in love and before they know it, they’re out gallivanting and loving life in the hot sun of L.A. However, Chuck sees potential in Linda, the same type of potential that could be used to make both of them very rich, and very famous as well. Problem is, with fame and fortune, comes the problems and with Chuck, the problems never seem to stop coming up.
The porn world sure has come a long, long way since the early days of the 70’s, and all of us horny dudes have Linda Lovelace to credit for that. However, as most of us may, or may not know, there was a lot more brewing underneath the surface of Lovelace’s life, as well as the making behind Deep Throat. Not only was Lovelace practically beaten within an inch of her life for a long while of it, but she was also forced to do the movie just so that Traynor could pay off some debts, support his drug habit, and just make money in general. He also wanted Lovelace to be a star, which she did become, but once that actually panned-out well for her, the dude put his foot back down and domineered his way back into her life like before, except it only continued to get worse and worse.
All of this is pretty tragic, considering the fame and fortune Lovelace could have had had her career gone on any longer; but the film never seems to tap into that fact. It’s strange, but believe it or not; the flick is mainly more about Traynor than it is Lovelace. Lovelace does have many scenes where she’s not with Traynor, but even then, she’s always with another person on screen, as if both writers/directors Rob Epstein & Jeffrey Friedman didn’t have enough trust in their material to find a way in making her more of an interesting character to hold an hour-and-a-half-long movie. It gets very disappointing after awhile, and it also feels strange because the movie never quite goes as deep as it should with it’s subject, the sadness behind it, or what exactly happened to Lovelace’s later life.
In fact, I’d probably say that her later life was probably the most interesting thing going for her. Once Lovelace had it with all the money, the notoriety, and the sex, she decided to stand right up against the porn industry; the same porn industry that she helped catapult it’s way into total and complete popularity. Seems odd for a type of person to do that, but given the circumstances of which she lived with for a long while, it makes sense that somebody so damaged and upset would go back to those limits and scare others away from making the same mistakes she made.
However, that’s just a reality; the type of reality this movie doesn’t even bother to develop enough. Then again though, oddly enough, it doesn’t develop much else either. Sure, we see the spousal-abuse from Traynor come around, a little too much I would say, and we see her film her porn scenes that have become something of infamy now, but never anything else to where we really feel a connection to this story or anything that’s going on. Even Lovelace herself just feels a bit like a sad excuse to show boobies, asses, dicks, and grotesque-sex, just so the horn-balls watching this will have something to get off too. A real shame too, because Lovelace’s story that I wouldn’t mind hearing more about, or even seeing for that matter, but the flick doesn’t show much interest in her, or anything else for that matter. It’s just dull, and painfully so. Where’s Dirk Diggler when you need him!!?!? Seriously!
Speaking of Linda Lovelace, she’s played very well here by Amanda Seyfried, the type of role that’s meant to stretch her abilities as an actress, but somehow doesn’t. Not her fault neither, because she does all that she can, without as much clothing as possible, but it never amounts to a fully-driven, sympathetic character. We do feel bad for her because she’s stuck with a d-bag that acts like all sweet and charming with her one second, and then turns into this crazy, ballistic animal the second, but nothing else here really makes us sympathize with her or have us root in her corner. We know she’s a nice gal that would like to do nice things for the ones around her, but is there anything else to that? Does she deserve to have a porn career? Or hell, does she even deserve to have a whole movie made about her?
I thought she did, but this movie could have fooled me!
But like I was saying before, the movie isn’t all that concerned with her as much as it should be. Instead, most of the supporting-cast around her takes over the spot-light, which isn’t so bad since it’s such a heavily-stacked list of names, but then again: Who’s story is being told here? Anyway, playing the d-bag-of-a-hubby that she gets stuck with, Chuck Traynor, Peter Sarsgaard does a wonderful job, as usual, playing two sides to this character. Firstly, he has that lovable, charming side that makes it easy for him to win us, as well as her and her parents over. And then secondly, and probably everybody’s favorite side of Sarsgaard’s acting in general, is the crazy side where he’s yelling, doped-up, an being a total evil, and manacle ass. Why? Well, the movie makes it clear that it’s all about drugs and debts that he has to pay off, but doesn’t make it any clearer than that. Basically, he’s just a self-destructive nut because that’s what he is, just about all of the time. Sarsgaard is good at playing this character and at keeping him somewhat interesting, but like with everything else in this movie, still pretty dull at the same time.
The rest of the crew we have here is a bit more scattered, with some having more screen-time than others and bringing a little plate of food to the party, and others just showing up empty-handed. The ones who’d be placed in the former would definitely have to be Robert Patrick and a nearly unrecognizable Sharon Stone as Linda’s Catholic-faith parents. They are both good because you can tell that they love their daughter very much, but aren’t going to leave out a helping-hand too much, due to the fact of where she’s going with her life. Sounds pretty harsh and mean if you ask me, but the movie still has them seem sympathetic and almost like the voice-of-reason to all of the havoc and dismay that will take part most of Linda’s later-life. But as for the others: Ehh, they’re fine, but no real pieces of shining silver to be found. James Franco has a nice bit as a younger Hugh Hefner; Hank Azaria and Bobby Cannavale seem to love the hell out of playing-off one another as the director-producer combo that worked on Deep Throat; and Chloe Sevigny has, I think, maybe 5 seconds of face-time on screen, and the rest of her performance is just her voice. That’s it, nothing more. I think somebody needs to give their manager a call!
Consensus: While it touches on certain moments of Lovelace’s life with as much respect and adoration as one movie can, Lovelace is still a very dull, uneventful, and tepid biopic that never reaches high enough to get it’s story moving, or get it’s point across, whatever that may have been.
5 / 10 = Rental!!
Photos Credit to: IMDB, Collider, Joblo, ComingSoon.net
Great review, It didn’t really dawn on me that Linda was never on screen alone. I do wish they would’ve elaborated more on the ending. That just felt sloppy.
She never really had a moment to herself, and it just didn’t do anything for the story.
Yeah they happened to not explain that she had to come back into the porn industry because of financial hardship even after she protested hard against it. Would’ve been more complex had they been able to insert that.
I felt like they didn’t have the huge budget to support all of that, so just left with a transcript at the end, as an easy way out.
I was interested in the story, but you’ve confirmed my worst fears for the flick. Cheers for the heads up. Good review, Dan.
You got it! Steer clear!
Damn, I thought this was going to be better. Shame, with a good cast (especially Peter Sarsgaard) I was looking forward to it.
It has a great cast. Just a shame they’re given junk to work with.
And your right, in the end the writers didn’t trust the character enough to carry the film. Also, great point about her life after porn actually being the more interesting story.
It was a very interesting, after-life she had, but it just was never talked about much. Just sort of left there.
Good review. I was just bored by this movie and that shouldn’t be the case since Linda Lovelace has such an interesting and sad story. Too much ground was covered over too short a film and that didn’t let the characters or the situations blossom enough for me. I applaud Seyfried for taking on a role such as this one. I like that she’s spreading her wings because I do think she is talented. Sarsgaard is particularly strong in this. There is always an air of him just about to fly off the handle at any given minute in every film he’s in and he uses that to great effect in this film. I wish this were a better film.
He always does great in any piece of junk he’s in, he just became a bit too repetitive for me here. Same goes for Seyfried, but I feel like that was more of the script’s problem, than her own.
Good stuff as always man. I missed this one during the screening rounds and I hadn’t gotten around to checking it out. Glad to hear I didn’t miss all that much.
You totally didn’t. Don’t even bother!
If only Lohan had starred in this film I am sure it would have been 10 out of 10. Sad to read that this turned out so average.
She would have probably made it better. Which is weird for me to even type.
that must have been a difficult task lol
Great review Dan. I didn’t know that much about Lovelace before the film and I sure as heck didn’t know that much more afterward. It’s always disappointing when the Wikipedia page is more informative and heartbreaking than the film. You were spot on about how the story kept drifting away from her. The scene where Skarsgaard breaks down after she left was a decent acting showcase for him but when the time came to see how Lovelace felt she was….sleeping. How insightful.