Lovelace is structured in two halves. The first being a lighthearted glitzy romp showing porn icon Linda Lovelace’s (Amanda Seyfried) rise from the innocent girl-next-door into the trending world of porno chic where she willingly participated and ended up becoming the toast of the town and a star.
The second half we get the grim account of the physical and emotional abuse that Linda was enduring at the hands of husband Chuck Traynor (Peter Sargaard) behind closed doors. The road to fame was paved with him threatening her life, forcing her to perform in porn and to prostitute herself to whoever he could make a buck from.
It’s an admirable approach to try to tell both conflicting versions of the story which will forever be a confusing history of who Lovelace really was and which interpretation to believe. However, the movie sadly doesn’t delve any deeper or offer any insight into Lovelace other than to dramatize the bullet points of her life from her account without examining them any further. In the end I felt like I watched a formulaic bio pic that played it safe and didn’t capitalize on the vast potential of the telling of the story.
I was apprehensive about Seyfried in the lead role and after watching it I didn’t think she was anything special. She’s basically an extremely innocent girl pulled into the porn world. At times the movie has her be too innocent and naive to the point that I didn’t have compassion towards her, but rather got aggravated with her.
The film never fully explains why Lovelace became so popular, why Deep Throat was such a cultural event or even manages to garner much sympathy for her at the sad situation she finds herself in. The flimsy explanation the film gives is simply she was raised to do what her husband says – no matter what.
That kind of rationale doesn’t carry much weight with what she experiences at the hands of Traynor and explains why she would stay with him through it all. And even if that is the truth, the movie fails to convey the importance of this supposed life motto of Lovelace’s and the role her parents played in this belief.
Sargaard gets to exercise a bit more acting muscle from at first being an affectionate hustler in the beginning romancing Lovelace to turning into a violent, manipulative husband. At times it felt like he was trying to channel Eric Roberts performance in Star 80. He doesn’t have much more to do than fluctuate between those two extremes.
The movie wasn’t compelling enough to hold my interest. Lovelace herself told many different versions of her story and the movie sticks with her final one where she renounced the porn industry and revealed the abuse she suffered from it and her husband. It also conveniently glosses over other parts of her life in order to tell a more linear story with an uplifting ending. It’s feels like they oversimplified it all and there was much more ground to cover the film didn’t bother examine.
Pass on this and watch the documentary Inside Deep Throat for a more thorough and fascinating look at Lovelace’s famous film, the reaction to it and the story of the actress.