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:: Lovelace

The story of Linda Lovelace was never going to be an easy film to write. How do you make a commercially viable film about one of the world’s most famous porn actresses without it being the kind of film that only the trench-coat brigade will pay to go and see. Of course, the other problem that directional team, Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, had to overcome was to not make another film that just looked at the 1970s porn film industry – that was already down with the popular “Boogie Nights.” To their credit however, Epstein and Friedman put in the hard yards and produce something special with “Lovelace.”

“Lovelace” is literally a story told in first halves. In the first half, the innocent Linda Lovelace (Amanda Seyfried) is rescued from her over-religious parents, John (Robert Patrick) and Dorothy (Sharon Stone) by her new boyfriend Chuck (Peter Sarsgaard), who introduces her to the life that brings her fame and fortune – that of being a porn actress.

That first story was what the world was led to believe at the time, but the second half of the film tells the story of what was really happening… something that has since been revealed in Lovelace’s gripping autobiography. Here Chuck is shown to be a violent husband who constantly beats his wife and introduces her to the likes of Anthony Ramano (Chris Noth) and Butchie Peraino (Bobby Cannavale) who are soon using Linda for their own gratification. Here, the audience gets to the tough things Linda had to do for her fame, even when she meets celebrities like Hugh Hefner (James Franco).

As a film, “Lovelace” does something special, it reveals the sleaze and abuse that goes on within the porn industry without ever becoming grotty enough to offend some audience members. Likewise, the directors make a strong statement about the abuse of women, without the film ever becoming preachy at all.

The stop/rewind film making technique used in “Lovelace” to get across both points of view also works a lot better than many would expect. Sometimes this style of film-making doesn’t work, but here it works to great effect. There are certain scenes during the first half of the film, such as the motel room scene, where it feels like the audience is missing something, and it’s these little crumbs that beautifully set up the second half of the film.

The most powerful part of “Lovelace” however, is the screenplay which is brilliantly written by the relatively inexperienced Andy Bellin. This really is in actors’ script and as a result some of the cast really get a chance to shine. Anyone who has been critical of Amanda Seyfried’s acting choices in the past is silenced here as Seyfried pulls off the challenging role with ease. Yes she’s gone for some serious roles in “Chloe” and “Gone,” but here Seyfried takes her acting to the next level.

Other stars to really shine because of this great script include Peter Sarsgaard who embraces the role of the repulsive Chuck, while Chris Noth, Bobby Cannavale, Hank Azaria and James Franco also reek of sleaze in their roles. Also re-capturing some of her previous glory is Sharon Stone who is unrecognizable as the prim and proper Dorothy Boreman.

As far as biopics go, “Lovelace” works. It expertly manages to tell the story twice and get both sides of the story across while also allowing its cast to show exactly what they are capable of.