Film review: Lovelace

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LovelaceReviewed by Cate Leedman

Edited by Siobhan Hodge

Film: Lovelace
Director: Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman
Running Time: 93 minutes
Year of Release: 2013
Language: English

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From the moment Linda appeared on screen driving, in what we later find out is the opening to Deep Throat, I was immediately plunged into the 1970s, where hair was big, hot pants were in, and sexual liberation was on an upsurge.

Ironically, for a film about pornography and the adult film industry, there was very little nudity in Lovelace, besides frequent topless shots of Linda (Amanda Seyfried). Following the life of Linda “Lovelace” Boreman from the age of 20 through to 32, Lovelace constructs a spiraling world of depression, drugs, sexual abuse, and violence.

In her most risqué yet challenging role yet, Amanda Seyfried excelled as Linda with her pale beauty, bringing innocence and naivety to the performance. Despite being so young when marrying and filming Deep Throat, Seyfried portrays Linda as strong and powerful, yet trapped in a life of constant fear and abuse.

The first pornographic feature film to be embraced by mainstream audiences, Deep Throat contained not only humour and a plot, but risked everything by taking on an unfamiliar new star.

Lovelace is constructed to shadow true events, and omits the violent aspects of Linda’s marriage to Chuck (Peter Sarsgaard) in the first part of the film. The film provided us with two versions of events and leaves it up to the audience to decide the truth. When confronted by their real relationship, my initial revulsion was replaced by sympathy and shock.

Stigmas surrounding religion, marriage, and women’s role in the domestic sphere are stereotyped and deconstructed. Linda’s strained relationship with her mother (Sharon Stone) is a catalyst for her toxic marriage, and inability to escape such a tumultuous lifestyle for so long. When finally free of her husband, Linda is soon remarried but forever in the shadow of her former life, and the film that made her a star.

Lovelace endeavours to promote sexual liberation, female empowerment, and show the role Linda had in a more wholesome light. Supported by an outstanding cast including Peter Sarsgaard, Hank Azaria, Juno Temple, Chris Noth and James Franco, and Sharon Stone and Robert Patrick as Linda’s parents, Lovelace effectively dissects the interrelationships that exist between sex, violence, and control and the success of pornography.

You will enjoy this film if you liked About Cherry, Factory Girl, and Almost Famous. The 1970s and the pornographic industry make for a liberating, confronting, and intriguing film about the downhill battle Linda Lovelace faced before and after making Deep Throat.  

Lovelace begins screening at Cinema Paradiso on Thursday 26th September 2013.