Lovelace is an odd film in that it's really two films wrapped into one. The first film is a rather light 70s set piece about the porn business very reminiscent of the film Boogie Nights, with great performances by Mama Mia's Amanda Seyfried (holding her own even though she is much too pretty to play Linda Lovelace) as well as Peter Sarsgaard as her creepy husband who has no qualms about prostituting his wife out for a buck. Sharon Stone is just fantastic as Linda's mother (you won't even recognize her) and Robert Patrick (of Terminator 2) as her father, and the supporting cast is also perfect, including Boardwalk Empire's Bobby Cannavale and even James Franco playing Hugh Hefner. There is a bit of foreshadowing about what the second film is going to be about, such as when Linda's co-star alludes to the bruises on Linda's leg and also some questionable looks by her husband, but otherwise the movie plays out as a strongly R-rated biopic delivering quite a few laughs.
Then, suddenly, we are thrown into the second film, a PG-13 Lifetime Network-like drama including violins playing. The second film retells the first film, showing the behind the scenes abuse Linda receives from her husband and portraying Linda as someone who is doing it all reluctantly and is trying to escape the porn business. The stark contrast between the second and first films would be more effective if the second film wasn't so formulaic--it even has a gift wrapped happy ending. I imagine the truth of Linda's life falls somewhere in the middle, with Linda's own bad judgment playing at least some part in her life's situation. Unfortunately, although Amanda Seyfried is lovely in the first film as the naive young newlywed getting caught up in the porn business, she isn't reinvented and just doesn't transcend in the more watered down drama of second film like, say, Charlize Theron was in the film Monster. There just aren't any great performance by anyone in the second film as a matter of fact and the scenes that are suppose to be brutal just aren't. When it comes to showing the ugly side of the porn biz this film peters out.
Lovelace, therefore, stands as a slightly above average and obviously heavily fictionalized biopic, when it could and should have been much more, if only some more guts were put into the second half of it.
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