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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Sep 7, 2013

Lovelace Movie Review: Well Acted Biopic Of The Late 70s Porn Actress

PORN actress Linda Lovelace rose to fame (or is it notoriety) in the 70s as the lead star in the first fully scripted hardcore flick, “Deep Throat”, that was made for only $1,250 but grossed $600 million. She died in 2002 at the age of 53 and is credited with four books on her life. Two books, both published in 1974, are pro-porn (Inside Linda Lovelace and The Intimate Diary of Linda Lovelace) and two books, published in 1980 and 1986, are anti-porn (Ordeal and Out of Bondage). Before she died, Linda claimed that the first two books aren’t truthful and were actually written by her then-husband, Chuck Traynor, and it’s the latter two books that really tell her true story.

The film bio’s scriptwriter Andy Bellin comes up with two different versions of her life story. The first one is based on “Inside Linda Lovelace” where Linda is a willing victim, then he repeats most of the same events but now based on “Ordeal”. Linda is now shown as an ultimate victim of sexual, physical and emotional abuse by her fiendish husband who even forced her into prostitution when she was gang banged in a hotel by several men.

The film thus presents Linda’s story from different viewpoints. Her real name is Linda Boreman (played by Amanda Seyfried). Her mom is a strict disciplinarian (Sharon Stone, who looks so old here compared to the B movie shown at SM recently, “The Mule”) and her dad is a former cop in New York (Robert Patrick.) They moved her to Florida when she got pregnant and her mom gave up her baby for adoption right away.

Linda is initially shown as a prude who refuses to take off her bikini top when sunbathing. Then she meets a sweet-talking cocaine-snorting hustler, Chuck Traynor (Peter Sarsgaard), who marries her then introduces her to a team of porno filmmakers (Hank Azaria, Bobby Cannavale & Chris Noth) who are blown away by Linda’s particular talent in giving blow jobs.

They get her to star in the 1972 skin flick, “Deep Throat”, that made her famous all over America. She even gets to meet celebrities like Sammy Davis and Playboy’s Hugh Hefner (played by James Franco.) But it’s downhill from hereon. She was only 21 when she met Chuck in 1971. “I was raised to obey my husband, for better for worse,” she says. She tries to run away from Chuck and go home to her parents, but her mom rejects her.

The film later shows Linda being married to a Hispanic man and they have a little son. She’s now known as Mrs. Linda Marchiano and she writes her own version of her story in “Ordeal”, which was sold out and had three printings. Her story ends with her redemption as a wife and mother. “That’s where I found my job,” she says. There’s even a neat ending showing her guesting on TV in the show of Phil Donohue to be an anti-porn crusader. She’s also shown reconciling happily with her parents.

In the end credits, it’s revealed that after their divorce, Chuck married another popular porn star, Marilyn Chambers, who starred in the hits “Behind the Green Door” and “Insatiable”. And three months after Linda died as a result of a car crash, Chuck also died of heart attack.

The acting is quite good. Amanda is best known for sweet roles in musicals like “Les Miz” and “Mamma Mia”. Here, she fully commits herself to the role and shows off her ample boobies several times. She shines in several scenes and paints a very pathetic character of Linda. A touching scene was when she was talking to her dad on the phone and he tells her he has seen her porn movie. Peter Sarsgaard succeeds in making Chuck a truly repulsive character who knows how to use charm for his own selfish motives. Sharon Stone and Robert Patrick do sterling work as the parents and you’d wish they were given more screen time to show how they react to their daughter’s foray into porn.

The film has two directors, Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, and they do a good job in re-creating the 70s with all the faithful period details, from the fashion and hairstyles of that era to the songs popular at that time. The film is not cumbersome viewing but somehow, you feel that they don’t really get inside the nitty gritty of their lead character. If Amanda were given a better script where things are not just too black and white and she’s not just a mere little girl lost, who knows, maybe she would have delivered an Oscar-worthy performance.

In the end, you’ll learn more details about Linda’s life and career by googling her. The film makes it appear that she only did “Deep Throat”, but it turns out she also did “Deep Throat 2” and “Linda Lovelace for President”. In 1996, she also divorced the Marchiano guy for being a drunkard and violent behavior. These sad details were no longer included in the film that opted for a more conventional happy ending.