Film review

Lovelace

Lovelace

Biopic of Deep Throat star...

In 1972, Linda Boreman became briefly notorious as Linda Lovelace, the star of Deep Throat, an adult film that became a catalyst for swirling social and historical forces.

The film was targeted by Nixon and the FBI, while its director, Gerry Damiano, became an unlikely counterculture hero, battling against charges of distributing obscene material. Allegedly funded by the Mafia, the film is reported to have grossed a staggering $600m – of which the star apparently saw only £1,250. Lovelace herself, meanwhile, became celebrated as the liberated girl next door until her autobiography, Ordeal, revealed her as the victim of her manager/husband, Chuck Trainor. A 2005 documentary, Inside Deep Throat, covered a lot of this ground, but Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman have revisited Lovelace’s life for a full biopic, that while sympathetic lacks the nerve to fully detail the injustices she suffered at Trainor’s hands.

We start with her oppressive childhood in working class Florida with her parents (Robert Patrick and – brilliant – Sharon Stone) from which she’s rescued by charming hustler Trainor (Peter Sarsgaard) and introduced to director Damiano (Hank Azaria), ushering in her career as the first bona fide porn star. Along the way, James Franco cameos as Hugh Hefner, and there are brisk turns from Chris Noth, Wes Bentley and Chloe Sevigny. Despite Epstein and Friedman’s decision to shoot key sequences of Linda’s story from different viewpoints – presumably to expose Trainor’s Machiavellian influence – and some excellent work from Amanda Seyfried in the lead, the film drifts too far into Boogie Nights territory, and seems less inclined to push to the meat of the story. As fine as Sarsgaard is as Trainor, you can’t help but wondering what, say, John Hawkes, or James Woods in his prime would have made of the role.
Michael Bonner

Follow me on Twitter @MichaelBonner.

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Rating: 7 / 10

OPENS AUGUST 23 // CERT 15


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