Lovelace (Canada; 93 min.)


directed by:
Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman
starring: Peter Sarsgaard; Amanda Seyfried; Sharon Stone; Bobby Cannavale; Hank Azaria; Chris Noth
Lovelace

Chris says: "Linda Lovelace, star of the seminal mainstream porno DEEP THROAT, had a life story seemingly tailor-made for a biopic: plucked from obscurity, she became an instant, infamous celebrity, but paid dearly for it. LOVELACE revels in that dichotomy, contrasting the giddiness and absurdity of how a young woman from a conservative, suburban family briefly became an icon for the sexual revolution with her lack of comfort in being handed that mantle, along with the extreme physical abuse her husband/slash manager Chuck Traynor inflicted upon her. This is the second narrative feature (after HOWL from longtime documentary filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman; while it retains HOWL’S energy, it has little of its invention, at times playing like a standard rags-to-riches/battered wife movie of the week. The only innovation is in its structure, which initially leaves out a key plot point, enhancing its impact once revealed in the film’s second half. What saves LOVELACE from also-ran status are a trio of terrific performances: Peter Sarsgaard finding nuance as irredeemable villain Traynor, a nearly unrecognizable Sharon Stone as Lovelace’s repressed, no-nonsense mother and as Lovelace herself, Amanda Seyfried, who makes good on the promise she’s shown in everything from 'Vernoica Mars' to CHLOE The role enables her to turn the seductive young woman persona she’s cultivated inside out, revealing the inner and outer conflicts of someone who was put into an extraordinary, terrible situation and, not without difficulty, got herself out of it. 3.5 cats

“(This film screened at the 2013 Provincetown International Film Festival)."

Thom says: " I'm a huge fan of the body of work of this illustrious American documentary director duo who have only recently turned their enormous talents to biopics. But it's one thing to go with a poetic interpretation of one of the giants of 20th Century poetry, no matter how bizarre & outer fringe Allen Ginsburg (superbly done by super-talented Franco) was in HOWL, to a lady most famous for giving the most-seen blow job in world history, no matter the expertise she showed in the act. While I loved the simple sincerity of the project, and the hugely professional cast all playing sleazy, down & dirty parts I finally had to wonder at the importance of such a biopic. Of course, my largest complaint was that beloved Chloe Sevigny was in the film for all of five seconds as a wayward reporter. The film starts out with the soon-to-be-infamous Linda Lovelace (nee Boreman) living at home as a late teenager before being swept away by the devil-like, slime-bucket Chuck (a nasty Peter Sarsgaard, at total odds with his wealthy, fancy man character in BLUE JASMINE) who ends up forcing the low-self-esteemed Linda into being used and cheated by the porno industry. He sexually, physically, and emotionally abuses her and turns her into an addict to more easily control her.

"After the humongous success of DEEP THROAT which was made for peanuts ($25,000) and hauled in over $45 million Lovelace was able to coast by on her notoriety for a few years but she received almost nothing for her efforts. After hitting rock-bottom with her heinous husband she finds the strength to leave him and begin a normal life out of the spotlight. She later wrote a tell-all and appeared before Senate committees as an anti-porn crusader and dies in a tragic accident at 53. What really lifts this film is the insidious characterizations made by the plethora of stars in incidental roles. Sharon Stone is unrecognizable as Lovelace's moralistic, hypocrite of a mother. Amanda Seyfried is fine as the low-self-esteemed Linda. Adam Brody is miscast as Harry Reems (I really have no idea what his penis size is) as his figure is too slight for the role. Actor James Franco is having another banner year as a renaissance man, appearing in two huge box office winners (OZ THE GREAT & POWERFUL & THIS IS THE END), giving the most strikingly frightening performance in Harmony Korine's zany, demented SPRING BREAKERS, & his own version of Faulkner's AS I LAY DYING, and showing up as a wacky Hugh Hefner here, all over Lovelace like cat-in-heat.

"But finally what really bothered me about this film was the portrayal by Sarsgaard as the abhorrent Chuck, as a soul with not one single quality or characteristic that is likable or memorable. To want to stay with him, around him, or near him makes no sense from anyone's perspective, no matter how dumb or deluded. Then the film tells us that after Linda Lovelace finally leaves him he takes up with and marries Marilyn Chambers, the 2nd most famous porn star of her age. Huh??!! It just doesn't make a lick of sense. Still, this film a calculated effort. Cannavale might want to try a different role next time out. Here he too closely matched his character in BLUE JASMINE. 4 cats"

Michael says:  "Biopics are not my thing, but the incredible cast of this story about 70’s porn star Linda Lovelace drew me in.  Amanda Seryfried, Peter Sarsgaard, Sharon Stone, Bobby Canavale, Wes Bentley… the list goes on.  A straightforward retelling of the facts of Lovelace’s life, and her short-lived superstardom for starring in DEEP THROAT would have been pretty uninteresting, but directors Rob Epstein and Jeff Friedman do something pretty interesting.  It is well documented that years after DEEP THROAT became a sensation, Lovelace wrote a memoir speaking out against the manipulative and abusive treatment she received, most notably from her husband at the time Chuck Traynor.  Epstein and Friedman (known for another biopic, HOWL, and a string of successful documentaries) play out Linda’s story not once, but twice, both from her perspective, but first from the point-of-view as she was living it, and second, the point-of-view as she looks back with a little more clarity.

"Amanda Seyfried shows her talent with the title role.  It’s good to see her take charge of the character and really create a complex woman.  Peter Sarsgaard is great as the deceptively charming, ultimately thuggish Tryanor.  After AN EDUCATION, I’m worried he’s going to get typecast with this kind of role.  All the other actors do a great job, and the period touches are very strong.  The one notable exception was James Franco playing Playboy mogul Hugh Hefner.  There was something self-conscious and just plain weird about his portrayal, and unfortunately, in a sea of strong performances, it stood out as a stumble.  4 cats"