Biopics have the ability to let us in on moments of a person’s life about which we wouldn’t otherwise have known. They can be insightful and inspiring or scary and dark. They can reveal the true character of a person we admired. They can educate us on a time we weren’t able to witness for ourselves. Some biopics can be entertaining. Lovelace doesn’t fail in all respects but it doesn’t live up to it’s potential either.
Directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, Lovelace tells the story of Linda Lovelace, who was famous in the 1970’s for her film Deepthroat. It follows her from a nobody to one of the most famous women in America and then chronicles her descent as she decides to leave the pornography business as well as her abusive husband who coaxed her in to it. Linda Lovelace is played by Amanda Seyfried who gives her best performance to date. Her husband, Chuck Traynor, is played by Peter Sarsgaard, who also gives an excellent performance (but he always does).
The best thing about this film is the performances. Sharon Stone and Robert Patrick play Linda’s parents and they both turn in stellar performances. I wouldn’t be surprised if Stone sees a Best Supporting Actress nomination for her role. However, it may be too early to say that. They are accompanied by some great actors such as Chris Noth as the film’s financier, Hank Azaria as the film’s director, Adam Brody as Linda’s co-star, Juno Temple as her best friend, Bobby Cannavale is the film’s producer, and James Franco as Hugh Hefner.
The cinematography and production design are both good. The filmmakers were able to recreate the 70s well (at least, it seemed to. I was born in the 80s…) but the look of a film and the performances can only take you so far if the story isn’t there. It’s possible the filmmakers realized this and attempted to stretch the movie a little as we see a handful of scenes more than once. Most of this is because Sarsgaard’s character’s abusiveness is hidden from the audience until it’s revealed by revisiting certain scenes and showing us what we didn’t see the first time around. It’s pretty obvious that he’s abusive to her even before we see these scenes so it’s not much of a reveal and makes the film feel a little long.
Chances are, if you see this movie, you’ll leave the theater with a shrug and say “The acting was good…”
I give it a B-