Linda Boreman, better known to the world as Linda Lovelace, spent seventeen days in the porn industry. To the general public, those days define her life. Her anti-porn advocacy… her horrific abuse at the hands of the depraved Chuck Traynor… her upbringing in a strict catholic household… her role as mother… her health battles and two devastating automobile accidents (one fatal)… Sadly, none of those things will ever replace the first image we think of when we hear that legendary name. The only thing the world ever remembers is the image of Harry Reems’ huge cock disappearing into Linda Lovelace’s “Deep Throat”. After watching this film, that seems like such a tragic legacy for her to endure.
“Lovelace” stars Amanda Seyfried as the innocent young woman who had the unfortunate displeasure of meeting Chuck Traynor in her early twenties. Having been raised with strict instructions to obey the man of the house, Linda soon found herself living a nightmare of abuse, manipulation and coercion. When financial trouble hit the couple, Traynor demanded that she star in an upcoming pornographic film being made by some producer acquaintances. That film turned out to be the most famous porno of all time, the 1972 classic, “Deep Throat”.
The film played several times a day at movie theaters for more than a decade. Some estimates have the film grossing more than $600 million worldwide… more on video and, later, DVD. Linda Lovelace’s celebrity reached far and wide. She was every bit as famous as the “legitimate” actresses of the time. Johnny Carson was casually throwing around her name as the butt of jokes on a nightly basis.
Sadly though, behind the scenes, Linda was being subjected to rape, battery and forced prostitution. She never saw a penny from Chuck, who domineered her emotionally and physically. It was an ordeal of the worst kind. Her 1980 biography was appropriately titled, “Ordeal”. It sold out three printings.
Seyfried is astonishing in this role. She embodies the naive and fragile actress with such complexity and emotional nuance that it is hard to watch. There are scenes in this film when Seyfried, without uttering a word, is virtually begging for a moment of relief from the torturous existence of her life. Consider the exchange with her mother (Sharon Stone), when she asks to stay at home rather than return to Traynor. When she is told to obey her husband, her eyes tells the horror of her desperation.
The entire supporting cast is magnificent. Sharon Stone is almost unrecognizable and completely without vanity as Linda’s strict mother. Peter Sarsgaard is cruel and despicable as Chuck. Robert Patrick, Chris Noth, Juno Temple and Hank Azaria all deliver fine performances in smaller roles.
If there is something to quibble with, it is that the film is directed without any artistic flare or originality. It can often feel like a TV movie. Contemplate the difference between this and the similarly themed “Boogie Nights”… one is a masterpiece of cinema and the other is a simple reconstruction of events.
Nevertheless, “Lovelace” is a respectable film with one of the best performances of 2013. Amanda Seyfried should be nominated left, right and center for awards at the end of the year. I think she deserves an Oscar nomination for this effort. If she was in a better overall film, she would be a certainty. As it stands, she is the best thing about the movie and she makes it well worth seeking out.