Directed by: Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman
Starring: Amanda Seyfried, James Franco, Peter Sarsgaard
I thought this could be an interesting film, since I remembered watching Inside Deep Throat, a documentary about the events surrounding the making of the landmark porno Deep Throat, and that’s basically what Lovelace is about, only as a dramatic retelling. Let’s just say that it didn’t do as compelling of a job as it could have.
Linda Lovelace is a young woman who marries a sleazy guy and ends up doing porn to pay for his debts. She stars in a film called Deep Throat, where she does the titular act and it puts the porn world on its ear. She enjoys the fame and money from her short-lived porn career, but eventually divorces her husband and tells the world the real story: that he was an abusive guy who beat the shit out of her all the time.
The concept behind this movie is sound, as from the public’s point of view, it very much started out as a nice story and the real Linda Lovelace eventually denounced her former career and claimed she was forced to do everything. The problem is that, since this is a dramatization, there isn’t really a good reason to show it from both completely opposite perspectives with no hints of the other in either. If you do something like that, you really need to put markers in the first, happy story, that you can look back at when you get to the awful rapey part and say “ah yes, I see that this was buried underneath the outer facade we saw earlier,” but that doesn’t happen. Instead the two halves almost have completely different characters in them, and the actors play them completely differently, and it really comes across almost like the filmmakers were playing Lovelace’s story off as something completely ridiculous. This is something else the documentary genre has over drama when dealing with real events, there’s much less bias in a documentary. For me, the film would’ve worked much better all chronologically, with the good and the bad both being shown at the same time, leaving the audience to have mixed emotions while we’re going along and seeing some of these happy interviews after we’d just seen the girl get beaten up for having sex with another guy for her job.
That being said, my favorite part by far was Hank Azaria as the sleazy porn producer, because he was actually funny and played up how campy and stereotypical his part was. You can’t really go wrong with Hank Azaria, though.