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Richard Roeper Blog

REVIEW: “Lovelace”

I’m Richard Roeper and coming up next, the story of the porn film that grossed hundreds of millions of dollars and ruined lives. My review of “Lovelace,” right now.

“Lovelace” is a well-made but grim film about a lost soul and the sadistic creeps that treated her like she was a sub-human toy. Set in the early 1970s and perfectly capturing the tenor of the times and the grimy underworld of the porn industry, this is the kind of movie you’ll appreciate but never really enjoy.

Amanda Seyfried does strong work here as Linda, who’s barely out of her teens and bored out of her mind, living in Florida. Robert Patrick is Linda’s stoic father, always glued to the TV, and Sharon Stone is a standout as Linda’s domineering mother.

It doesn’t make doing for the oily Chuck Traynor, played by Peter Sarsgaard, to charm Linda into a quickie marriage. Deep in debt, Chuck makes a deal for Linda to star in a little porn film becomes an international sensation.

Hank Azaria, Bobby Canavale and Chris Noth are porno filmmakers, but even they’re appalled by Chuck’s sleaziness and his abuse of Linda. Even as Hugh Hefner circles about and Johnny Carson is making nightly jokes about “Deep Throat” and there’s talk of Linda becoming a mainstream star, the reality of her life is shocking and horrific.

Seyfried is often semi-nude in “Lovelace,” but there’s nothing titillating about this film. Sex is a commodity and Linda is mere chattel to the men that casually, cruelly abuse her. That she was able to climb from their sewers and bravely tell her story is a minor miracle. Even then, though, “Lovelace” never feels triumphant or inspirational. It’s a well-made, well-acted reminder that the most famous porn star of the most famous porn movie ever made was a victim.

I give “Lovelace” a B+.

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