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Thursday, August 8, 2013

LOVELACE

Co-directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman attempt to show the real story behind the star of the notorious blockbuster skin flick Deep Throat and in a rudimentary kind of way they do.  The first act shows how the film's star, a 21 year-old unknown named Linda Boreman (Amanda Seyfried) met and fell in love with Chuck Traynor (a reliably creepy Peter Sarsgaard) who charmed his way into her pants and her heart with a sly smile and used his sharp right hook to make sure he stayed there.

It was Traynor who brought about her sexual awakening and then went on to nearly ruin her.  The first section of the film shows how he courted her and seduced her into his world, but never really makes it clear how she went from a prudish young woman to a (mostly) willing nymphet so easily.  Once we reach the glamorous Hollywood parties and runaway success of the film, the second act hits the rewind button and shows the flip side of Chuck and Linda's whirlwind romance and we see the full-on slimy, douchiness that is Traynor which we only get a glimpse of in the first act.

That's all well and good, we get it, he's a dirt bag who put his wife through hell, but for a film that is supposed to revolve around Linda we never really get a grasp on the woman that became Lovelace (kind of like a 'pearl necklace,' sounds elegant, but not really).  Even after the tepid third act where we see her renounce porn and try to move on with her life we still don't know who she is.  She comes across as totally naive and so easily manipulated that her redemption even feels like it was handed to her by a husband that just happens to be a good guy.  None of her decisions really feel like her own and the only reason you root for her is because she's such a victim.  Taking into account that this was a time when there weren't nearly as many resources for a woman in her position, it seems that there's something missing, a latent resilience, a quiet strength that would guide a woman who would go on to speak out against the porn industry and the treatment of women in particular.


As played by Seyfried she comes across as a too delicate flower that was plucked all too soon by an undeserving man-child who lacked the strength to battle his own demons.  She does finally get to the light side of the tunnel, but it feels more inevitable than earned.  The strained relationship with her parents manages to feel overplayed and underplayed at the same time.  The scenes with her mother (an underused Sharon Stone) lack the bite and truth that they should and fail to shed any real light on the subject.  Some fun supporting work from Chris Noth as Deep Throat producer Anthony Romano and Hank Azaria as the film's director Gerry Demiano keep the film from being completely boring and unwatchable.  If not for them, and the nudity, we would be left with a Lifetime Original Movie that might've starred a C-list television actress, but would have likely been more entertaining, even if just as vapid.


***** 5/10 Stars 

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