Lovelace was a movie I knew I wanted to see the moment I heard about development. In the beginning, Kate Hudson was in talks to take on the part of Linda Lovelace. Things changed late in the game, however and Amanda Seyfried ultimately secured the starring role. In retrospect, I’m glad Seyfried got the part. I’m not a huge fan of hers, but I was intrigued by the casting change and interested to see what she could do with the part.
The buzz was there and the talent had officially signed on. All that was left to do was wait. Turns out, I waited so long I completely forgot about this movie. Luckily, this past weekend I was reminded of the film when it popped up in my Video On Demand (VOD) menu. Because I had wanted to watch Lovelace for some time, I quickly pressed the select button on my remote. Then, as is customary, I closed the ginormous front-window drapes and found a comfortable spot on the couch. I was now ready to learn about the life and times of Linda Lovelace, the most famous adult film actor of her time.
We see Linda Lovelace (née Linda Boreman) for the fist time at her parent’s house. We meet her as a shy teen. She’s cutting school and sunbathing in her backyard with a friend. Almost immediately, her mother Dorothy Boreman (Sharon Stone) catches her daughter and lets her wrath of bitter, strict and irrational tendencies punctuate her very vocal disapproval. It is evident from the beginning why Linda would want to flee the home she shared with her family.
A weathered, angry and disappointed mother will never be the supportive type. A mother like that will only insist that tough love remedies all. It’s quite clear early on that Linda Boreman grew up in a hyper-strict household. Instead of fostering her curiosity and developing her character, her parents alienated her and misguided her, denying her when she needed them most.
Still in her teens, Linda hooks up with Chuck Traynor (Peter Skarsgaard). Chuck is a charismatic and charming man. He’s clearly a bit worldly for Linda, but that doesn’t stop her from thinking she’s in love and eventually marrying him. Instead of finding freedom, Linda finds a more controlling and perilous environment. Through Traynor, Linda Boreman transformers herself into Linda Lovelace and embarks on a journey of questionable judgment and mostly negative experiences. Lucky for Linda there is one really great outcome, she becomes famous. She finds notoriety at the back of her throat and her husband, always quick to capitalize, finds infinite ways to make a buck.
I initially thought Lovelace was meant to be a biopic detailing the outlandish life choices that converted one random woman into a mainstream porn superstar. It appears I was wrong. This movie is about a bunch of horrible stuff that happened to a sad, little victim. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the story, because I did. I was intrigued mostly because I didn’t know very much (outside the obvious) about Lovelace prior to watching this film. What I’ve come away with after viewing this movie is that life isn’t as straightforward for a porn star as one might like to assume.
Amanda Seyfried brings us a painfully naïve, highly confused and unapologetically needy Linda Lovelace. I liked Seyfried as Lovelace. She came across as believably bewildered and easily manipulated. Through the filter that is Seyfried’s performance, I get a picture of Lovelace that is frustratingly gripping.
Peter Skarsgaard is good at playing the charismatic tough guy. You want to like him, but you know straight away that something is off about him. As Chuck Traynor, Skarsgaard portrays an insatiably ambitious and viciously tempered husband that creates a porn star out of his muted, but acutely sexual, young wife.
Both Skarsgaard and Seyfried portray realistic versions of the characters they were given to play. While that is good on a basic level, it sucks in that the characters aren’t well rounded. This movie just serves to prove that there just isn’t much an actor can do to save a poorly written character. The thing is, I wanted to watch this movie to gain some insight into who these people were, outside of their choices in this one particularly pornographic chain of events and decisions in their lives. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any of that with this movie.
This film also attempted to portray the pornographic scenes in the original Deep Throat as tastefully as possible. Unfortunately, attempting to make something like pornography tasteful, in this particular movie, comes off as somewhat hypocritical. Additionally the violation of Lovelace herself, as a human being, woman and daughter feels like it gets glossed over too artfully. Sure the degradation of this particular person led her to great fame and recognition, but it’s still horrific and should be addressed accordingly. The awful things that happen to Lovelace throughout this film seem as if they are always forced upon her, but it’s quite evident that the real life Linda Lovelace had more control than she was willing to accept. I was disappointed to see that I would not be given a glimpse into that psyche, which would eventually drive a woman to base her entire existence on selling some variation of her sex for money.
Most of the supporting cast does a fine job of keeping the performances fairly seamless in that there wasn’t any individual portrayal that was so bad, it threw off the whole damn thing. Hank Azaria, Sharon Stone and Adam Brody are the best of the supporting bunch. Chris North, who plays Anthony Romano--a sleezeball with a soft spot for Lovelace--is nothing more than a caricature of a character that once had the potential to add an interesting layer to this story. North is good at the caricature in the same way that Pacino is good at being Carlito Brigante in every movie since Carlito’s Way. You gotta give me more, North. I won’t let you skate by on your looks anymore, son.
I know, it sounds like I hated this movie. Real talk is sometimes scary and can sound negative. Satisfyingly though, real talk is also refreshing and easy to comprehend. Double-edged swords are the worst, aren’t they? In all honesty, I rather liked this movie. Well, I suppose ‘liked’ is relative, but that’s what the grading system is for, amirite?
Look, you don’t even have to put on pants to watch this. All you have to do is push a button on your remote. What I’m saying with all this is that you should just go ahead and push that button.
- Who doesn’t like pushing buttons?
- Wes Bently makes a great (i.e. titillating) cameo appearance.
- You have my word, this won’t mostly suck, but you just have to see for yourself.
Make it happen. If you hate me for recommending, you can always come back and yell at me in the comments. Enjoy!
Lovelace (2013) - C
C = It’s not breakthrough cinema, but you’ll likely end up having an OK time. The pros outweigh the cons enough to make this kind of enjoyable. Give it a go if you dare.