Customer Review

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Shocking and compelling, 28 Aug 2013
This review is from: Lovelace [DVD] (DVD)
Lovelace is a brutal, unflinching portrait of the 70's porn world. It's certainly not an easy watch; nor is it a film to be particularly enjoyed per se. What is it? Riveting. Hard-hitting. And wonderful.

Amanda Seyfried really is a revelation; I don't know how to put it better. Every emotion is believable, and she makes you love her character. She's a truly wonderful, versatile actress who I have enjoyed watching across genres, and I am happy to say that she has pulled off a tricky performance as the infamous porn star as easily as she would any rom-com lead. She shines particularly towards the end of the film, when she is playing the broken woman at the end of a horrifically abusive marriage. As for Sarsgaard, he deserves an Oscar nomination for his performance as Traynor. Despite the film mainly casting him as a pantomime villain, he adds depth to the character and rounds him out a little. Even though it's clear his character is a 'baddie', he's human and never two dimensional.

The scenes with Linda's parents were possibly the most compelling parts of the film. Her mother's cold demeanour towards her, and her 'stand by your man' attitude that we as an audience find so repellent, are all too realistic, and make Linda's emotional decline all the more heartbreaking. For me, the scene in which her father tells her that he has watched her movie and had to walk out of the theatre was one of the saddest in any movie I've scene, and I was choking back tears during Robert Patrick's subtle but beautiful performance.

I also enjoyed the narrative technique; we see the same events twice in the film. Loosely interpreted, the first is how others see the marriage of Lovelace and Traynor and the 'glamourous' side of porn; the second is the 'real' events, the 'behind closed doors' take. It works better than juxtaposing the two, I think, because it adds more shock value. Scenes already played out take on a new meaning when we witness the dark underside of them.

A word of warning: even with only rudimentary knowledge of Lovelace's life, I noticed things here were wrong, reshuffled or missed out, so if this kind of thing annoys you be prepared. As for me, I didn't feel that it made much difference; the narrative was strong enough to assuage me. I didn't feel like there was a single weak link in Lovelace, and that cannot often be said. I left the cinema perturbed and horrified by some of the things I'd seen, but deep in thought and filled with admiration for the impeccable craftsmanship of the film. It's a shame that the film likely won't receive the recognition it deserves due to the subject matter, because I'd give it all the accolades there are.
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