Let me state upfront that I, like most people, have heard of Linda Lovelace, but I knew next to nothing about her, other than she starred in "Deep Throat" (which I haven't seen) over 40 years ago. But this movie made quite a splash when it was first screened earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival, and I couldn't wait to see it. Now the movie is finally out, both in theatres and on VOD.
"Lovelace" (2013 release; 93 min.) starts in 1970 when we get to meet Linda (played by Amanda Seyfried), living at home with her ultra-strict parents (played by Robert Patrick and Sharon Stone). Linda gets to know Chuck (played by Peter Sarsgaard) and they hit it off. It's not long before Linda moves in with him (and eventually marries him), but it's equally not long before Chuck, in desperate need of money, is getting Linda involved in shady things, leading to what eventually would become "Deep Throat" (for which she was paid $1,250). But the problems with Chuck run much deeper than that. At some point Linda flees back to her parents' house, hoping to stay just a few days, when mom coldly turns her away with "you married Chuck, you must obey him". To tell you more would surely ruin your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: first and foremost, this movie is a performers' dream as there are so many choice roles, and most of them relish the challenge and run with it. Let's start with Amanda Seyfried as the title character: her days on "As The World Turns" and "All My Children", and even "Mean Girls" are long gone! Seyfried really surprised me with this role. And then there is Peter Sarsgaard, who must have salivated at the opportunity to play the challenging role of Chuck, as unlikeable character as you'll ever meet. Sarsgaard does it brilliantly. But top honors must go (in my book anyway) to Sharon Stone as Linda's mother. If I hadn't known beforehand that Stone was in this role, I would've never recognized her. This may be the very best performance of her career, period. There are tons of other notable performers in this movie (James Franco gets about 5 min. of screen time as Hugh Hefner; Hank Azaria; Chris Noth; and Chloë Sevigny in a blink it and you'll miss it appearance, just to name those). I often think that movies run too long, but in this case it is the opposite, as it feels in particular the latter years are skimped over too quickly. Last but not least, there is a delight soundtrack, mostly early 70s FM staples but also some lesser known nuggets, and it complements the film perfectly. One final note: there is some nudity in the movie but given the subject matter, there could've been lots more.
"Lovelace" showed up at my local art-house theatre this past weekend here in Cincinnati. I saw it at a recent matinee, and I had a private showing, as in: I was literally the only one in the theatre. It makes me think that this will not play long, which is unfortunate, as this is a good, if at times difficult, movie, with brilliant performances. If you are in the mood for a quality indie movie that is miles away from your standard Hollywood fare, "Lovelace" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.