“The Lives of a Porn Superstar”
One of the movies that has people talking about it is “Lovelace”, the biopic of “Deep Throat” star, Linda Lovelace (Amanda Seyfried). For those of you who don’t know, “Deep Throat” (1972) was the first pornographic film with a scripted plot. Lovelace was raised in a strict religious family and discovered the high life and freedom when she fell in love with and married Chuck Traynor, a charismatic hustler. Soon she was an international sensation after people saw her as the girl next door who loved performing fellatio. Lovelace and her screen persona soon became one and also became became a spokesman for sexual freedom and “uninhibited hedonism”. However, six years later she was completely different person and we saw her as a woman with a very dark life.
In 1980 Lovelace published her autobiography, “Ordeal” telling us about the disturbing and intense life that she led. In the film directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman brings us her story. This is an honest look at her life. Chuck Traynor (Peter Sarsgaard) was the man behind Lovelace—he was not only her husband but her manager and we learn that he threatened, beat and controlled her. She was essentially his prisoner—he forced her into prostitution, and kept her money. She was finally able to get away and write her autobiography and went on an anti-pornography campaign. In 2002, she was killed in an automobile accident. Her life was quite sad, depressing and degrading but she was able to vindicate herself before her death.
In the film we first meet her when she was living with her parents (Robert Patrick and Sharon Stone) in the working-class town of Davie, Florida. There she met Traylor who took her from a skating rink to parties with hard drugs. By the time she was 19, she became a mother but not a wife yet. She had little education and was molded by Traynor. He took her to New York and introduced her to porn director Gerard Damiano (Hank Azaria) and producer Butchie Peraino (Bobby Cannavale). She tells them that she has no skills but Chuck interjects that she indeed has a specialty—performing oral sex and this gave the movie she made its title. The film was an instant success and she became a star overnight and she was invited to meet Hugh Hefner and became the butt of jokes on television talk shows.
Moving forward some six years, we see Lovelace taking a polygraph test in order to authenticate her claims against Traylor. It is this point that we begin to learn of the horrors of her life—beatings, forced gang rapes, pressure to make sequels to “Deep Throat”, enslavement by Traynor and her father’s reaction after seeing the film. Lovelace is determined to never make another film.
Six years after that Lovelace published her autobiography. She was also raising two children and on the Phil Donahue show tells the world that Linda Lovelace is a fictional character. She has now become a feminist.
As Lovelace, Seyfried gives an excellent performance and has transition well from having played the innocent and sweet Cosette in “Les Miz”. She does a wonderful job showing Lovelace’s insecurities and is able to make us feel sorry for her. Sarsgaard is also fine as Traynor. In fact the entire cast is very good.