Lovelace: Movie Review

Okay, this isn't a movies review blog, but I thought I'd throw in my two cents worth as Lovelace kind of fits the overall theme. To start off, I'm not a fan of Linda Lovelace. I always thought she was overrated as a porn actress and although I can respect Deep Throat as a ground-breaking movie, it's pretty shit really. Just compare it to Behind the Green Door (1972) or The Devil in Miss Jones (1973) and you will see what I mean.

So what about the long-awaited Linda Lovelace biopic? Well originally there was a movie called Inferno that was supposed to star Lindsay Lohan as Linda, but her unreliability meant she was dropped. It's a shame as I think she could have pulled it off. The project stalled. Then Lovelace was made with Amanda Seyfried in the title role. Was it all worth the wait?

Boogie Nights proved that a good mainstream movie could be made about the 1970s US porn industry. But with that movie they got the casting right. Heather Graham, Julianne Moore and Burt Reynolds fit their roles perfectly, while character development meant that you actually cared about them. That's the first problem with Lovelace. Amanda Seyfried just isn't believable as Linda Lovelace. She’s too cute, too pretty, too innocent looking. The real Linda Lovelace was rough around the edges and far from innocent. In fact, I always thought Carol Connors was the sex-bomb of Deep Throat. Peter Sarsgaard does a good job as Chuck Traynor, but lack of character development means he comes across as two-dimensional.

Amanda Seyfried Linda Lovelace
And then we have the story itself. First of all it seems to be based entirely on her autobiography Ordeal. This is one of four autobiographies she released, each of which seemed to differ from the last – first she was a vivacious porn star, then a born-again Christian, then part of the anti-porn feminist lobby. I’m sure there is an element of truth in all her books, but what we have here is a cliché movie where everything is black and white. Anyone's recollections that contradict the Ordeal storyline (which includes just about everyone apart from Linda Lovelace) has been ignored. Was Traynor a nice guy? Unlikely! Sharon Mitchell described him as “the first of the suitcase pimps.” According to Gerard Damiano, the director of Deep Throat, “She [Linda] seemed to have a distinct sadomasochistic relationship with Chuck, to the point where he constantly dominated her… But as close as they were in the daytime, I knew Chuck would bang Linda off the wall all night.” On the other hand, Marilyn Chambers dumped her husband and ran off with Traynor as soon as Linda had divorced him. They stayed together for almost six years. It would have been much more interesting if all these dynamics had been explored rather than just tell a simplistic story where Linda is forced to fuck on film!

Amanda Seyfried Linda Lovelace
And that’s another problem I have with this movie. If you are going to discuss Linda fucking on film you can't simply jump straight from Florida in 1968-69 to New York in 1972. Deep Throat was not Linda's first foray into porn. The entire period of 1970-71, when she appeared in numerous 8mm porn loops (including the one with her furry friend) is ignored. In fact, originally Traynor was supposed to be in front of the camera with Linda but was unable to get it up and so had to be replaced by Eric Edwards. Edwards went on to work with Linda in most of her early loops.

Linda & Chuck
in early photo shoot
This movie is a missed opportunity. The Linda Lovelace story could have been presented in a balanced way within the context of the early New York porn scene with all its criminal undertones, grime and human frailties. It would have been a much more interesting and hard-hitting movie. Instead we get the tired old story of Linda the victim with characters it’s hard to become involved with or care about. On the plus side, Amanda Seyfried looks beautiful and proves she can act, while the 1970s kitsch décor and period detail is pretty cool. But if you want a better idea of the times and Linda's entry into porn, go and read The Other Hollywood by Legs McNeil.

Peter & Amanda Linda & Chuck

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