L. PowerHALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on April 6 2014
Years ago I watched an interview with the person better known as Linda Lovelace who starred in a porn movie named Deep Throat 1972 for which she became very famous.
The name Deep Throat would take on a new life in 1974 when journalists Woodward and Bernstein used it as a name for their informant in the 1974 Watergate scandal, as described in their book All the President's Men, which in turn led to an Academy Award winning movie.
In the interview Linda Boreman claimed that she was an unwilling participant in the movie, and that she was beaten and abused by her husband who forced her at gunpoint to perform all the acts in the movie. When I leafed through her bestselling book in a bookstore several days later, I had a hard time wrapping my head around the idea that she was supposedly hypnotized by her husband who somehow made her do all these things for which she became famous. She had some harsh things to say about Sammy Davis Jr, as I recall, and was quite explicit about her dreadful experiences.
Not that I have given this much thought over the years, but I know that every story has more than one side, and I did occasionally wonder what the truth was. She eventually became an activist against the pornographic industry that made her famous. Thus this character presents something of a paradox, on the one hand a seemingly willing participant who became famous through her work, who dressed up for premieres and smiled for the cameras, on the other an unwilling participant beaten, threatened at gunpoint, forced into really bad situations unawares and supposedly hypnotized and mind controlled by her husband Chuck Traynor, who went on to marry porn star Marilyn Chambers.
In the early 1970's Linda marries Chuck Trainer. He gets her into the adult film industry. She performs in Deep Throat and becomes a movie star well-known as she is joked about by Johnny Carson and Bob Hope.
Then the movie skips and shows how her world is actually going from a different perspective, not as great as it appears. Some bare bosom appears. Engaging and heart-breaking tale. Several known actors appear. Time period vehicles abound.
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68 of 78 people found the following review helpful
Outstanding performances carry this movieAug. 13 2013
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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.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
A movie that deserves a bigger audience then it will get because of the subject. This is NOT porn. Think Boogie Nights. I say B.Sept. 23 2013
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"I spent exactly 17 days in the pornography industry and somehow these 17 days are supposed to define who I am for the rest of my life, but I hope that people can see me for who I really am." Linda Boreman (Seyfried) is a normal teenager in the sixties. She is a little naive and sheltered but nothing too extreme. When she meets a man named Chuck Traynor (Saragaard) he promises to take care of her and give her what she wants. Happy to be out of her parents house she gets married and things are looking up. When Chuck gets her a job she thinks its going to be fantastic. Little by little her life is taken away from her, then one day she fights back. This is first and foremost NOT a movie about pornography. This is a movie about a woman who becomes manipulated and controlled by a man she trusted and her fight to get someone to help her. While Seyfried does a good job in this it's nothing Oscar worthy but she does play it in a way that makes the movie very depressing and you really feel for her and want her to make it out. I could keep going on about this and many people won't watch just because they think it's something it isn't, but this is worth watching and a real women's lib type movie. Overall, if you liked Boogie Nights you will like this. I give it a B.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
"I Think People Who Understand Fear Will Know What It's About" - Linda Marchiano (Lovelace)Dec 15 2013
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Forcefully directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman based on the book, "Ordeal", written by Linda herself, is the story of a woman who spent years paying publicly and personally for her short-lived (basically, 17 days by her admission) time in the world of pornography. Linda Boreman (Amanda Seyfried) started out a naive teenager. The freckle-faced 'girl next door' who met up with the wrong man, Chuck Traynor (Peter Sarsgaard), a sweet talking, attention giving parasite with dollar signs in his eyes at first sight of her. He quickly schmoozes Linda from her strict upbringing with her mother (Sharon Stone) and father (Robert Patrick) to an all-out freedom that she doesn't know about or what to expect from life in the 1970's.
The two quickly marry in what appears to be the first part of the movie which looks to play out in two halves. During this telling part we learn the very succinct tale of Linda taking the porn industry by storm with the movie "Deep Throat". Chuck is questionably in charge of everything; Behind changing her name to 'Lovelace', The Producer, Anthony (Chris Noth), Director, Gerry (Frank Azaria) and co-stars, Debi Mazar and Adam Brody. An overly eager crew of pornographers shows a very misleading lifestyle of which I found lacking any real dubiousness (everything being just a matter of fact). I wouldn't have thought this type of business was so aloof and quite business at hand. Everybody seemed happy enough, sometimes even jovial, and mainly all get along except for Chuck, who is growing more disgruntled and angrily controlling. Even Hugh Hefner (James Franco) is a good friend to Linda, especially in a private screening of the movie as they introduce it to an adoring crowd and then to the masses.
After a six year jump in time it appears as a retelling of the first half. The former situations begin to realistically reveal themselves. It is now in all this turbulence that Linda's bruises start to show both emotionally and physically. From the very start of their marriage, Chuck has been severely abusing drugs, but even more harsh, horribly abusing Linda. The more she tries to protest, the more things spiral downward. There isn't anyone there to aid her within a business on the take, a huge money making venue that she has become the object of. There is even a heartbreaking moment when her own mother turns her beaten daughter away with the cruel words concerning Chuck, "Obey Him". He used her to pay off his debts from their beginning resulting in the movie, which brought her great fame, although not wealth. Chuck's jealousy, anger, and inability to control himself results in an indescribable entrapment of Linda. This provides a portrait of depravity showing the lengths he did go to using his wife.
Several clips are inserted within the film; a news report from Walter Cronkite, a couple Johnny Carson Show jokes, a quip from Bob Hope, and The Phil Donahue Show where Linda has some time to speak from her side of things. This was a huge 'event' in the '70's when this movie hit the screen, evidently the first of its kind. The soundtrack (Stephen Trask) adds the popular music of the day and underscores everything interestingly. Adding the photography (Eric Edwards) brings you right back to that decade with its clothing, styling, decor, and lighting. Seyfried and Sarsgaard both are amazing portraying these two very genuine roles, one the completely helpless victim and the other an intolerable monster. Also, a very limited but heart-tugging father role is sentimentally given by Patrick. I certainly understood this movie being much less about pornography and so much more about domestic violence in a 'look the other way' world.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
This feels very 'direct to video'...Jan. 16 2014
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Remember that movie ‘Howl’, the one that was supposed to net James Franco an Oscar? Yeah, I don’t either. I mean, I remember it only because it had that early-hype due to subject and actor, but I never saw it and I really don’t think many people who didn’t stumble into it while it made the festival circuit did either. It was directed by these two guys, Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, and it got so-so reviews and basically disappeared.
This should have all been a sign.
I remember back in the early months of 2013, when I was considering predictions for the 2013 Oscars (yes, I’m an addict) and a name that I kept flirting with was Amanda Seyfried. She was all over the red carpets for ‘Les Miserables’ and many people were saying that she was breaking through, finally, after years of basically being ignored or taking a backseat. I mean, she technically took a backseat then too, to Anne Hathaway, but she was a red carpet sensation and people were taking notice. Then it was announced that she was going to be playing Linda Lovelace and it just felt like a sign from heaven. Young starlet getting the role of a lifetime playing the most recognizable name in the adult film industry. It doesn’t hurt that that name is attached to a very well-known film and that star was abused in multiple ways by multiple people.
Talk about Oscar bait.
The problem with ‘Lovelace’ is that it lacks any style to make the substance, which is there, feel fresh and exciting. The grungy want that it is filmed (to emulate the porn era) is interesting and then dull at the same time (been there done that) and while the two-fold storytelling (telling the story twice, once glossed over and the second brutally honest) it isn’t enough to give the film the needed umph. The character development is scarce (Look scared Seyfried! Act mean Sarsgaard!) and this dampens the impact that this film, and her life, could have had.
Linda Lovelace was brought up in a strict home and she was a merely curious young woman swept off her feet by a no good man who pretended to be good until he put a ring on her finger and then decided to beat her and sell her out for her body in order to pay his debts. Epstein and Friedman have no visual style or storytelling skills and so the film really feels flat. It doesn’t help that Seyfried’s performance is so bland and uninspired, and this really could have been an undeniable knock out role for her. Sarsgaard fares slightly better, since he has a flashy character, but we’ve seen him play a sleaze MANY times, and he’s done it far better before (this is reminiscent of his turn in ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ except not as fresh or as memorable). Honestly, Chris Noth and Bobby Cannavale are the most memorable presences in this film, and they don’t really do a whole lot except ‘fit’.
Don’t even get me started on James Franco’s TERRIBLE cameo as Hugh Hefner.
At the end of the day, ‘Lovelace’ isn’t offensive or bad as much as it’s pointless, and that’s sad. What is it with all these boring directors getting their hands on baity biopics? I mean, I understand that the biopic is becoming a tired genre, but true auteurs have given such life to these stories in the past. In the right hands, this could have been a grittier, more violent ‘Boogie Nights’, but instead this feels like a Lifetime movie.
24 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Amazing Amanda SeyfriedAug. 9 2013
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This dark tale about the horrific life of Linda Lovelace is hypnotizing. The cinematography is gritty. While I cant tell if the fashion(70's) is what made it so dark, or if it was a choice of the directors to bath the story in dimness. Peter Sarsgaard portrayal of Lovelace's husband is remarkable. While historically he plays dark characters well he is particularly heinous, and subhuman in this part. His talent to paint himself as this truly despicable character will leave a bad taste in your mouth, but none the less will keep you glued to the screen as he descents.
Other honorable mention includes Robert Patrick. His scenes seemed to touch me the most. He portrayed Lovelace's father and seemed the only one who captured what the audience is left feeling. Complete sympathy for Linda.
With that being said if there is no other reason to watch the movie than do it for Amanda Seyfried's performance. She totally disappears in this role. She takes you through Linda's life and is able to completely emote from innocent, scared, and finally indignant. This is a daring role for someone who is usually casted as a 'darling'. Seyfried is sensational. Granted it is only August I hope that she will not be forgotten during award season.