After the untimely death of his daughter, Paul Raymond reflects on his life. Rising from a mind-reading act, he grew to have a hugely successful career as an erotica magnate which would make him the wealthiest man in Britain. Yet for all his material success, his appetites mess up his personal life. Even as he challenged society's sexual mores, his relationship with his daughter proved troubling and problematic.Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (email@example.com)
While discussing the role of a reporter for 'Men Only' magazine the Fiona Richmond character (Tamsin Egerton) refers to female genitalia as "pussy". This term would not have been in use in the 1960s when the film is set. Later in the film the correct English term "fanny" is used. See more »
Michael Winterbottom is one of my favourite directors. He makes interesting films, they may not always be the most commercial, and The Look Of Love, will I suspect have a wider appeal than say Welcome To Sarayevo but his films are always interesting and engaging, so long may he continue to make them.
Suffice to say the plot is a rags to riches tail, followed by a fall from grace, what makes this story different is that people who follow such a path don't always drag their children with them, here unfortunately that was the case. A cautious tale of morality the film spans several decades following the life of Porn Baron Paul Raymond, who went on to own Men Only and a string of other magazines, shops and clubs in Soho. I actually met him and his daughter once, though I don't think I knew who they were at the time.
Raymond (Played with appropriate gusto and restrained measure by Steve Coogan, at his best) and his daughter (Imogen Poots, outstanding) were ultimately damaging for each other as shown her. Yes Raymond wasn't the best father he could have been, but once adult his daughter Debbie was an equally bad influence on him. Coke is king in this story, and I am not talking about the type from a can that comes in red. As they both struggle with their own addictions, their worlds clash and full out of control.
While Raymond, may have been to many simply a shrewd businessman and not all that likable, Winterbottom and Coogan do well her to give him a balanced portrayal - Clearly a doting father and a generous man to those around him who were his friends Raymond is at least seen as human, though the cold and callous way in which in dealt with his estranged son was awful and brought home difficult memories for me. This is not just a tale about a man who made his fortune in erotica and porn. It's story of a grieving father who failed to heed the warning signs he was given and steer his daughter back on the right path, and ultimately paid the price.
James Lance plays Raymond's long time lawyer friend in a rather two dimensional role and does well to put meat on the bone and other appearances from a number of comic and acting talents from the UK fill out every role possible.
Production design here is first rate, with the Soho of the 1970s and 1980s which (the latter) I remember all too well recreated superbly and the lavish flat of Raymonds can well be believed, designed as he loves to tell all who will listen by Ringo Star.
Like many who rise to the top, Raymond was ultimately a tortured soul, who found it impossible to stay in one relationship and tragically lost the people he loved the most. It is not surprising that he became a recluse and died very much alone.
Still despite the tragedy in his life, you cannot say he didn't live it to the full.
A very enjoyable two hours of my time and a great role for Coogan. Adwards surely here must go though, to Imogen Poots, her performance is pitch perfect as the rich kid who was not immune to her own insecurities and struggled to find happiness. Hopefully they are now both united again in a better place.
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