The name Linda Lovelace has gone down in history in the world of film and adult film. In a time when censorship was not as prevalent, her pornographic feature film “Deep Throat” was the first (and last) of its kind to play in thousands of theaters across the United States. Her rise to stardom was immediate and her decline was only brought on by her wanting to leave the industry. She was a one-hit-wonder that felt trapped and pressured by her peers to do more of what she hated. What people didn’t know, was how she got to be in the business and the trials she endured when she tried to leave it.
Growing up with overcautious parents, Linda Lovelace (Amanda Seyfried) was always a goody-two-shoes. Her best friend, Patsy (Juno Temple), was always more of a wild child and invited Linda to a party. There, she meets Chuck (Peter Sarsgaard), a smooth-talking and interesting man. The two begin dating and slowly, Chuck learns that Linda has a very special gift that could yield great potential in the right industry.
Chuck takes Linda to his friends Gerry (Hank Azaria), Butchie (Bobby Cannavale), and Anthony (Chris Noth), and Linda discovers why Chuck really wants her around. His friends are in the adult entertainment business and they’re set to make Linda a star. After she records the infamous “Deep Throat” movie, she becomes the hottest ticket in Hollywood and feels the pressure of an actress and an entertainer. While the likes of Chuck and even Hugh Hefner (James Franco) want her to continue doing adult videos, Linda wants to escape and go back to her old life. Unfortunately, Chuck doesn’t like that very much and will stop at nothing to keep Linda in the business and making him rich.
Lovelace follows the story of Linda Boreman (later known as Linda Lovelace), based off of her accounts in her autobiography, Ordeal. While the outside world saw her as either a star or a floozy, Linda believed herself to be the same little girl who loved her parents and wanted to live a normal life. The pressure brought on by the industry and by her abusive husband prompted Linda to recount her story in her autobiography. Within, she discusses her husband beating her senseless and even selling her services to multiple men at the same time.
Most shockingly about this film, is the fact that Amanda Seyfried played the title role? Seyfried has always come off as the “good girl” and only reinforces that image by having two well-regarded musicals (Mama Mia, Les Miserables) to her name. Here, she drops the act and completely grows into this touchy and risqué woman. She does a wonderful job with portraying Linda’s young innocence and the fear that was felt when her husband screamed and hit her. Her susceptibility is incredible and she certainly proves that there is much more to her than meets the eye!
Peter Sarsgaard also turns in a great performance as the drunk, abusive husband of Linda. His maniacal tendencies and alternative motives are sickening and incredibly believable. The overbearing influence that he has is enough to creep anyone out and it’s easy to see why Linda did what he said. Combine his influence with the smooth talking likes of Cannavale and Azaria, and you could talk this girl into anything. Throw in the support of Hugh Hefner and it would be hard to leave this newfound stardom. As a whole, the acting in this film is solid. The performances compliment each other and the actors help make this film more enjoyable and entertaining.
Where Lovelace falters, is with its script. The dialog is bland, especially when compared to the performances that the actors are giving. Linda is also portrayed as this perfect girl who was taken advantage of, and while that may or may not be true, it seems extremely over-exaggerated. Nothing ever seems to be Linda’s fault and personally, I can’t believe that. An aspect of the film that I wish was explored more, is the relationship with Linda and her parents. There is a basic level in which they explore the relationship, but it could have made the film that much better by spending more time on it. I’ve always wondered what the parents of adult film stars thought about their kids, but I didn’t get all the information that I craved. Lastly, there are many minor characters in the film that are major influences in Linda’s career, but are pushed off the screen in a matter of minutes. I guess Hugh Hefner isn’t important after all…
To my surprise, Lovelace is a fairly tame film. Despite its touchy subject matter, the film doesn’t delve too deep into Linda’s one-hit-wonder. There isn’t too much explicit content in the film and I’m okay with that, because the story isn’t about “Deep Throat”. The story we are told is that of Linda’s questionable forced career in the Adult Entertainment Industry, and the challenges she faced once in it. Seyfried and Sarsgaard lead a great ensemble in a pretty decent film. If you were curious about Linda’s life and her short time in the business, have I got a film for you. If not, well, that’s just fine too.