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IN SHORT: An interesting story though the film's choppy editing gets in the way. [Rated R for strong sexual content, nudity, language, drug use and some domestic violence. 92 minutes]
There was a very brief time in the history of film, just before the introduction of made-for-home-use videotape recorders, in which certain projects of a porngraphic nature were almost considered to be as legitimate as "real" (studio backed) films. There were three of these in the 1970s which gained notoriety: The Devil in Miss Jones was the second. Behind the Green Door can now be found on YouTube. The hands down biggest hit of them all was called Deep Throat. This fillm, Lovelace, is the carefully told story about most of the life of its star, "Linda Lovelace."
Before we write anything else, those with knowledge of any parts of this story who may be expecting "hard-R" sex scenes to push this movie as close to the nearly extinct XXX-rating standards, should know that this film doesn't go to that place. What it does tell is a story of a woman whose hard core Catholic religious values walked hand-in-hand with the "ideal America" image of the 1950s. The "dad goes to work, mom runs the house" world in this story is filled by Robert Patrick and Sharon Stone as John J. an Dorothy Boreman, whose daughter has matured into a major disappointment. Their child, Linda (Amanda Seyfried), is not much for looks or intelligence. Knocked up before she is nineteen, the baby is put up for adoption, and Linda finds escape with friends at the local disco rollerskating rink.
"Escape" ultimately means finding a man to rescue her from mom's dominant an and repressive household. Unfortunately, the hunky Chuck Traynor (Peter Sarsgaard) is a bottom feeder of the nth degree.. Marriage comes quickly. The "happly ever after" did not. Traynor's idea of how to be the man of the house means moving Linda away from mom's control in a small Florida town up the coast to New York CIty. There, he pimps his bride out to the mob, which is expanding its criminal activities into the porb biz. . All too quickly Linda is introduced to a "producer" named Butchie Peraino (Bobby Cannavale) and director Gerard Damiano (Hank Azaria). While Linda is quick to admit that her acting skills are a big zero, thanks to her sexual abilities, a film called Deep Throat is made and becomes a phenomenon of the early 1970s.
Here's the thing: Linda Boreman, renamed "Linda Lovelace" as a professional gimmick, wants nothing to do with "the biz." While cast and crew party in the off hours, on the other side of the hotel wall what sounds like a voracious sex life is revealed to be anything but. Traynor is quick to beat the crap out of his wife to keep her in line.
Linda spends 17 days in the porn business, making a series of 8mm "loops" and the feature porn film Deep Throat. She receives a payment of $1250 for a film that would eventually gross an estimated $600 millions. No one really knows; porn was a mobbed up business back in the day, which is strongly suggested by the presence of one Anthony Romano (Chris Noth), the moneyman behind the filming. Romano and Chuck Traynor don't get along. There is a subtle battle between the two as to who gets to take credit for Lovelace's career.
Traynor will settle for exploiting the heck out of the new "Lovelace" name with all sorts of sexual paraphenalia and . . . some other stuff, Linda, while surprised by the attention she gets from people like Hugh Hefner (James Franco) will go crying back to her mother for help and advice. What comes next is quite the surprise and we're not going to spill it. Those of a certain generation, meaning Cranky, know the story from here on out. To say that Lovelace is, start to finish, a compelling sit would not be far off the mark. With two directors at the helm, though, we found our self distracted by poor edits in the back half of the film.
On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Lovelace, he would have paid . . .
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