Shy, sensitive April is the class virgin, torn between an illicit flirtation with her soccer coach Mr. B and an unrequited crush on sweet stoner Teddy. Emily, meanwhile, offers sexual ... See full summary »
Expecting to see something that resembled more of a Linda Lovelace biopic, I must admit that I was a bit disappointed to find out that "Lovelace" only examines a small portion of her life and the abusive relationship with her husband during the making of 1972's "Deep Throat" (arguably the most popular adult film of all time). But as I started watching this, my disappointment only grew as I witnessed what directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman had done with this material (material which had such dark dramatic potential) utterly mangling the construction of the story and, to add insult to injury, transforming this film into nothing more than a by-the-numbers, woman empowerment, Lifetime channel movie of the week with nudity.
Not saying that Amanda Seyfried (who plays Linda Lovelace) and Peter Sarsgaard (who plays her husband, Chuck) don't do their best with the material given. They are actually quite good in this. And with the help of some excellent supporting work from the likes of Sharon Stone, who is almost unrecognizable as Linda's mother and Bobby Cannavale who plays a producer, the acting is the best part of this movie.
OK, so yes, James Franco is laughable as young Hugh Hefner, but the real black eye on the face of "Lovelace" has to be Epstein and Friedman's direction.
The following is a rundown of how Epstein and Friedman nearly single handedly ruined this movie; act by act: Act One: Cramming an insane amount of old television footage down our throats with the sole purpose of making sure we (the audience) realize that this movie is set in the 70's, the first 40 minutes of "Lovelace" tells the story of how Linda and Chuck meet, fall in love and how Chuck introduces Linda into the world of porn. Sounds interesting enough, right? Well, it would have been if not for direction that chose to outright disregard character development for an entire act. Example: Linda and Chuck fall in love in like 2 seconds. Next thing we know, its 6 months later and she's inexplicably on the set of "Deep Throat". Next thing we know, Linda is getting beat by Chuck. In other words, in the first half of this film, we have no context for anybody's motivations. We don't really get to see any conversations that have any sort of weight behind them or contain any real emotional transformations. And the fact that there is no back-story to be found for nearly half of this film, handicaps the viewers from becoming personally invested in any of the characters.
Act Two: The second act changes gears completely, as Epstein and Friedman attempt to push "Lovelace" into the realm of "dark-drama". Here we (the audience) finally get to see meaningful conflicts between Linda and her mother, Linda and Chuck, Linda and her Father and the producers and Chuck. And during these conflicts we actually begin to learn a little about each character's motivations and in turn, begin to sympathize with Linda as a person. The problem with act two is that all of these moments are shown via flashback, as Epstein and Friedman actually take us back to the beginning of the story and essentially fill in the character development blanks from the first act. But this backtracking shines as a prime example of too little too late, as many will have lost interest in the story itself by this point.
Act Three: From the momentum of the second act, I truly believed that "Lovelace" was on the upswing. Boy, was I wrong. At the point where we begin to catch a glimpse of a riveting film, "Lovelace" changes gears once again and irritatingly settles on a climax worthy of a Lifetime redemption movie of the week.
Final Thought: Within the second act (the fill in the blank portion of this film) "Lovelace" is laced with some dark and well filmed sequences. But by the time we get to this point, the lack of character development in conjunction with direction lacking in coherent construction, will have made it so that we not only don't care about the characters but the story as well. Overall, "Lovelace" is a misguided attempt at filmmaking and an outright boring look into the world of pornography. Oh, and not to make light of domestic violence, but if anybody tells you that this movie is on par with "Boogie Nights", you have my permission to punch them in the face.
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