Porn princess biopic Lovelace has taken its bow at the Sundance Film Festival.
One of this year’s most talked-about entries, it’s the story of how one Linda Boreman became Linda Lovelace, the skin-flick superstar most (in)famous for 1972’s Deep Throat .
Despite the filmmakers’ noble efforts to explore how Linda (Amanda Seyfried) was abused and exploited behind the scenes, in dramatic terms Lovelace is strictly softcore.
Freedom and hedonism define the first half, as Deep Throat becomes a cine-sensation lapped up by liberated audiences across the US.
Part two replays events from a darker perspective, revealing Linda’s hustler husband Chuck Traynor (Peter Sarsgaard) as a violent bully pimping his wife for a fast buck.
It’s a neat narrative turnaround, showing us the grit beneath the glamour. Trouble is, the second half feels scarcely less superficial than the first.
Despite Sarsgaard’s slimeball charisma, Chuck is a cartoon monster, while the film overall can’t compete with Boogie Nights ’ seemy authenticity.
Where’s the experimental edge of Howl , co-directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s last picture?
Sadly, there are few surprises here; and to paraphrase Clueless , it feels like they’ve watched that Ike and Tina Turner movie way too many times.
Bright-eyed and bushy-haired, Seyfried makes an easily likeable Linda.
But in the Q&A following the Sundance screening, the actress herself drew attention to the lack of space given to Linda’s anti-porn crusading, which might have made for a more balanced portrait.
If you want to go deeper, read Lovelace’s book Ordeal - or cue up a double-bill of Boogie Nights and ace documentary Inside Deep Throat .