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With: Amanda Seyfried, Peter Sarsgaard, Sharon Stone, Robert Patrick, Juno Temple, Chris Noth, Bobby Cannavale, Hank Azaria, Adam Brody, Chlo‘ Sevigny, James Franco, Debi Mazar, Wes Bentley, Eric Roberts
Written by: Andy Bellin
Directed by: Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman
MPAA Rating: R for strong sexual content, nudity, language, drug use and some domestic violence
Running Time: 92
Date: 08/09/2013

Lovelace (2013)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Sore 'Throat'

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

San Francisco-based filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman deliver a sympathetic portrayal of Linda Lovelace, the star of the infamous porn movie Deep Throat (1972), asserting her innocence and good intentions. (It's based on her own 1980 biography, "Ordeal.")

After getting an abortion, Linda (Amanda Seyfried) moves with her strict parents from New York to Florida in 1970. She tries to live a good life, but she meets Chuck Traynor (Peter Sarsgaard) at a roller rink. He whisks her away from her stifling curfews, changes her name to "Linda Lovelace," and gets her a part in what will become the most famous porn movie of its time. Her sudden fame becomes a blessing and a curse, and she finds that it's difficult to get away from the sex business once she's in it. Worse, her husband turns out to be sexually and emotionally abusive. Years later, Linda writes a tell-all book, hoping her cautionary tale will help others in her situation.

As far as biopics go, Lovelace is not great. It shies away from too much intense material, and it would have felt skimpy if not for the structure invented by screenwriter Andy Bellin; the first half of the movie is the typical rags-to-riches part, and the second half goes back to reveal the horrors going on behind the scenes.

This has the effect of deepening the story, and stripping away the façade. Amanda Seyfried is the perfect person to play Linda, both charismatic and sexy, but also squeaky clean; she brings her own layers to the part. The rest of the cast is peopled with excellent character actors, but the real surprise is Sharon Stone as Linda's tormented mother, who realizes that her strictness did nothing to prevent Linda's fate, and may, indeed have contributed to it.

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