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After the untimely death of his daughter, Paul Raymond reflects on his life. Rising from a mind-reading act, Raymond grew to have a fabulously successful career as an erotica magnate that would make him the richest man in Britain. However, for all his material success, Paul's appetites mess up his personal life, such as alienating his wife with his philandering. Furthermore, even as he challenged his society's sexual mores, Paul's relationship with his daughter proves troublingly problematic as she came of age. While trying to be the best father he could, Paul gradually comes to realize that his proclivities have impoverished him in ways that mere money cannot address. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The U.S. one sheet theatrical poster released around November 2012 had a release date of 8 March 2013 quoted. The film actually did not get released in the U.S. until 5 July 2013 as a very limited release. It had a wider release in its home country of the United Kingdom. See more »
Paul Raymond was fascinating figure, being the richest man in Britain, making his fortune from exclusive men's clubs, publishing softcore pornography and having a massive property portfolio. He based his reputation on controversy, using notoriety to get more attention which results with him getting more sells. But he had a troubled relationship with the women of his life, his wife, his lover and his daughter.
Steve Coogan plays Raymond, a Liverpoolian lad who starred out as entertainer but quickly moved to working behind the scenes and starring to run exclusive men's clubs with his wife Jean (Anna Friel). During his rise he makes a fortune, stretching the bounds of public decency when he moves to theatre and publishing. During his rise he forms a relationship with Amber (Tamsin Egerton) who becomes Fiona Richmond, a famous British sex symbol, leading to him having the largest divorce settlement in British legal history and stay close with his daughter Debbie (Imogen Poots) who he sees has his heir apparent but has a massive drug addiction.
As the subject for a bio-pic Paul Raymond for both his business achievements and his personal life: but The Look of Love stretches itself too thin, not knowing where to focus and therefore making for a shallow experience. The Look of Love was a film that tried to fit too much and we end up getting scenes and elements of Raymond's live going by too fast or come out of nowhere, such as Raymond meeting his illegitimate son. It felt like the film was gutted in the editing room with how it only briefly on many different aspects such as the controversies, his rise in business and a sex scandal just to name a few.
The Look of Love was written by Matt Greenhalgh who has written two excellent bio-pics, Control and Nowhere Boy. The strength of those films are they were both were very focused on a specific area of their character's lives, John Lennon and his relationship with his mother and Ian Curtis' epilepsy and depression. The Look of Love has a different approach of looking at a much larger time period and look at many different aspects of Raymond's life. It can be argued that the films main focus is on his relationships with women and by the end the main focus is his relationship with his daughter.
Despite The Look of Love has a comedy cast the film is a very serious tone and performances. Coogan does give a very good dramatic performance and it good to see him taking different roles. He does have some witty lines but on the whole it was a serious role. It was actually surprising that the audience laughed during a scene which was very serious when Raymond ends up having to make a line of cocaine for his daughter when she was giving birth. Egerton, Poots , Friel and Chris Addison too were solid in their roles, but Davad Williams' role was extremely minor that it felt pointless to the point where his role seemed like it was mostly cut and people like Stephen Fry and Dara O Briain were camoes.
Director Michael Winterbottom does inject a lot of period detail to the film and there are some stylist moments when he does montages. There is a different look to each period, the 50/60s being shot in the black and white, his rise in the 70s being quite bright and need the end having more gritty cinematography. But like his previous film that I saw, Trinsha, it has a paradox of feeling both too short and too long for both skipping over elements and yet having a slow pace. One moment I enjoyed was a quick 30 second scene done in one take as Jean confronts Amber/Fiona with the camera following her.
On the whole The Look of Look is a very well acted film which is its greatest strength, but does not know where to turn which part of its subject matter it should examine.
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