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With Juno Temple, who has been in about three reviews now, and Amanda Seyfried in this film, I put aside my apprehension of watching a biopic about a porn actress and decided to watch this. Low and behold they weren’t the only recognizable faces for Peter Sarsgaard, who I remember solely for Garden State, but also Sharon Stone, James Franco, Chris North and Robert Patrick in the film. Together they make quite an interesting cast, but name recognition didn’t help the overall production I’m afraid.
Starting off with characters, Linda Lovelace (played by Amanda Seyfried) feels so underdeveloped that you wonder sometimes if the movie is about her. To me, she never really defines herself at all in the movie for most of the time we just see her getting used and abused by Chuck Traynor (played by Peter Sarsgaard) and then when the movie gets into Lovelace’s later years as an anti-porn advocate, that is for one scene only. So for most of the film, she is this sweet girl who falls for this sweet talking and charming man who turns out to be the Ike Turner of porn who makes this simple girl into a porn star, only to be trying to catch a ride on her rocket and constantly slipping off.
Now, the story is broken down into two ways: The first way deals with a very general outlook of Linda’s life up until the end of the Deep Throat production and Linda’s rise to fame. In this part, we meet Linda as a 21-year-old girl originally from Yonkers, but probably due to her parent’s embarrassment of getting pregnant out of wedlock, the whole clan ends up moving to Florida. So, here is this girl next door with an outgoing best friend named Patsy (played by Juno Temple) and because of Patsy, Linda ends up meeting Chuck. Now, at first, Chuck comes off as any love interest would in a romance movie. He is charming, sweet and even knows how to get a girl’s parents to like him. But, he is also a user, in more ways than one, and from him getting in between Linda’s thighs, he finds himself a fool who takes every bit of mental and physical abuse he can give, which includes forcing her into prostitution, even after she becomes famous.
To me, the film doesn’t have the usual appeal of biopics. For while Seyfried’s performance is good enough, a lot of people feel utterly flat in this film, and really it is a struggle to really think of something to highlight to write my usual positive paragraph. I mean, at most, I can say that when watching it I didn’t pause it and go off to do something else.
But, as a whole, this was such a disappointing biopic. I felt I never got to know Linda Lovelace at all. She was just this pawn of Chuck’s who loved him at one time so she would do anything for him, and then when the love was gone she was threatened to do everything for him. Also, it felt like they skimped so much on her story and tried to give so much to Deep Throat, which I understand was the prime of her career, but I felt like the anti-porn advocate deserved a bit more screen time than us seeing either Seyfried tumble or her breast get showcased. Then, on top of the other issues, I didn’t like how it seemed like they were trying to mix the “Inside Linda Lovelace” which seemingly was authored by Chuck with Linda’s seal of approval, and what really happened based on her later book “Ordeal.” The reason I didn’t like it was because it seemed useless to the movie. Why have it where you get to Linda’s height as a porn star with Chuck seeming mostly like the jealous type, with hints of abuse, and then rewind it showing him as an abuser on multiple levels? Not only that, but I felt the setup for presenting Linda as she transitioned out of porn and into a normal life and prepped for the release of “Ordeal” felt almost so out of place and not well crafted. I partly blame the editing, but mostly the script for this whole film just seems so disjointed and it felt like they glazed over the facts and story of Linda’s life.
Overall: Skip It
This is one of those type of films which drive you to read a book or watch a documentary for you feel like you learn nothing about the subject whatsoever. We already know what made her famous, but unfortunately, we never learn of what happened after that “ordeal” of having Chuck in her life. And really, having a sort of black screen with white text epilogue just felt cheap. You have us watch this woman get abused and damn near forced into some type of public form of sex slavery, but never see her fully turn from victim to advocate. Instead, as she gets free we get the slightest bit about her post-porn career and then we learn she hardly earned a thing from Deep Throat, get a picture of her, and text that she died and Chuck married the second most famous porn star at the time. Overall, this film really does feel like it was more about Chuck pulling an Ike Turner/ Joe Jackson and beating a young girl into fame, than about a poor girl who got with the worse type of man and found a way to survive and try to keep other girls from suffering the same fate