In Lovelace, Amanda Seyfried (Les Miserables, Mamma Mia!) plays the iconic porn star, starting in her unknown teenage years. While an average but rambunctious teen, Linda meets future boyfriend and husband, Chuck Traynor (played by Peter Sarsgaard, An Education, The Killing). As soon as the honeymoon period fades away and Linda moves out of her house and in with Traynor, he quickly becomes controlling and mentally and physically abusive.
Traynor manages Linda’s career, pushing her into the industry that makes her famous. Although she tries to enjoy the limelight, her freedom is curtailed by Traynor, and he also collects and controls all of her earnings. Seyfried and Sarsgaard give bold, unflinching performances, and they are supported by a strong cast, including Sharon Stone (as Linda’s mother), Chris Noth, James Franco, Bobby Cannavale, and Hank Azaria.
Lovelace has an interesting look to it. It is filmed as any other average glossy biopic would be filmed: ups and downs, moments of humor mixed with the darker underpinnings and her struggle, all polished off with a nice, glossy look. It’s fair that some viewers may think that this subject matter would have been better served with edgier direction. That being said, directors Rob Epstein (Howl, The Times of Harvey Milk) and Jeffrey Friedman (Howl), definitely direct with authority. They paint a complete picture of the time period with great attention to detail, bold performances, and a complex picture of power, control, and sexual freedom to take in. Overall, this was one of my favorite films that I saw at Sundance 2013.
Although her credibility has been called into question, Linda Lovelace passed a polygraph test, which supported her violent claims against Traynor. In her later years, Linda spoke out against the porn industry with her memoirs Ordeal and Out of Bondage.
Lovelace is scheduled for limited US release starting on August 9, 2013.