Lovelace (2013), directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman

lovelace-poster - small♦½

I don’t know what we’re supposed to take away from this movie, but I’m pretty sure it has something to do with “the seventies.” I say this because the filmmakers refuse to allow us to forget it. Just when we think we might — just when we think there might be a universal message hiding somewhere in all this — they blast us with another song or another TV clip (Richard Nixon, Johnny Carson, Phil Donohue) or some more of those crazy clothes people wore back then. I think maybe this movie is telling us, The seventies were real, man!

That’s about as deep as this movie ever gets. It’s hard to be incoherent and deep at the same time.

Linda Lovelace, of course, is the woman who starred in Deep Throat, the record-breaking porno film that helped mainstream the entire industry. It was reviewed in the New York Times. In 1980, she published her autobiography, Ordeal, in which she spoke out against pornography and domestic violence, the latter because she claimed to have been threatened and beaten by her husband, Chuck Traynor, and forced by him into porn and prostitution.

I have no doubt that bad things happened to Ms. Boreman (her real name). Just as I have no doubt that this movie, posthumously, is one of them. It’s an awful mishmash of scenes with conflicting messages, as if the filmmakers couldn’t quite decide who the bad guys were. Except for Chuck. He’s rotten from start to finish. (But for that kind of thing, you’d do better to watch Star 80.)

It’s safe to say that the porn industry comes out  unscathed. As a matter of fact, it’s actually kind of cute. There’s the loving recreation of Linda’s most famous role, for instance. Her co-star, Harry Reems, seems like a nice guy, and provides the basis for the film’s only humor, when he gets a little too excited by Linda’s famous talent. There’s the photographer who shoots her for the movie poster, who, Linda says (in awe), makes her beautiful. There are the porn bigwigs who protect her from Chuck later in the film.

If it’s about anything, this film is about domestic violence, but even that won’t fly because, without the porn, there was no point in making it about Lovelace, specifically. And as a biopic, it’s too disjointed and incomplete to be of any real value. Watching this picture I got the distinct impression that Linda only made one movie (Deep Throat), but the reality is, she appeared in adult loops, including one involving bestiality, as well as in the sequel to Throat.

I can’t think of any reason to see this movie except to ogle Amanda Seyfried’s breasts, and that is, I think, the strongest indictment against it.

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