Rated: R for strong sexual content, nudity, language, drug use and some domestic violence. Reviewed by: Jim Release date: August 9, 2013 Released by: Radius-TWC
A tragic story so strikingly mounted has a fairly dispassionate take on a memorable individual in the adult entertainment industry.
So effortlessly relaxed into the 1970s is Lovelace starring Amanda Seyfried in the eponymous role and an ubiquitous Peter Sarsgaard which is definitely thematically resonant through celebrity allure and misogynistic business-minded obstinacy.
At the start of the decade, Seyfried's early adult Linda Boreman is won over by Sarsgaard's Svengali freewheeling Chuck Traynor to move away from her Bible-thumping parents (played by Robert Patrick and Sharon Stone). When Linda stars in the controversial, hugely successful porn picture Deep Throat it jettisons her into a new lifestyle. One that includes the viscerally corrosive Chuck, done with edgy nuance by Sarsgaard (getting plaudits for Blue Jasmine and in the small-screen drama The Killing) impelled to exploit her carnally for profit.
Acclaimed helmers for their cinema verity, Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman manage a kind of groovy 'Rashamon' perspective from Linda's life especially through a later 1980s autobiography Ordeal. Vivid, rich hues in a grainy stock as well as popular music is a giddy, stark sign of the times as a vicious underbelly occasionally rises to the forefront. Seyfried, known for her more wholesome roles in Mamma Mia and of late in the Oscar-nominated Les Miserables finely shades the part with raw ambiguity even if the whole scenario doesn't relate the conflicted way she personalized her porn and personal existence.
Still there will be many who will find sections of Lovelace more than enticing while wondering why Linda withstood the abuse, not getting much support from her mother, as an unrecognizable Stone is quite good here, even better than other fact-based dramas like Alpha Dog. Patrick even comes on strong in support especially in arguably the film's most affecting interlude. Plenty of lesser appearances or even cameos that range from James Franco, Eric Roberts, Juno Temple and Chris Noth help make all the seediness quite watchable. Epstein and Friedman convey an artistry and charisma through a "happy couple" even if the emotional context never really cuts that deep for a striking porn-star biopic.