Disclaimer: This review contains spoilers for LoveLace (2013). Please do not read this review until you see the movie.
LoveLace (2013) directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman stars Amanda Seyfried as Linda Lovelace, the first porn superstar. The entire cast delivers powerful performances as complex, damaged and cultivating characters, but the film fails to make a memorable, lasting impression.
When Linda meets Chuck (Peter Sarsgaard), she immediately loses herself in his slimy charm. In LoveLace, Linda is portrayed as a lonely, sad girl who’s entire life revolved around going from one controlling figure to another. But when she meets Chuck, she blinds herself to his true intentions. Soon after they marry, Chuck turns on his manipulative and abusive side. The movie tenderly displays the effects of abuse on women, especially in a culture that encourages them to be submissive.
A strength of LoveLace is pairing the layout of the story with the theme of appearance vs. reality. The first half of the film plays out almost like a fairy tale. Girl meets boy, they fall in love, next comes fame and porn. However, the story then shifts to the reality of things. Where boy beats girl, forces her to do porn and she never sees any money.
Because of Deep Throat (1972), Linda becomes an example of female sexuality. She is a symbol of liberty for women. However, in reality, Linda is oppressed by her husband. This also represents an example of appearance vs. reality. Linda’s actual life contrasts with what she symbolizes.
The cast of LoveLace delivers exceptional performances, especially Seyfried, who does one of her best yet. One of the mesmerizing moments of the film is when it combines archival footage with current images to recreate Linda’s appearance on Donahue. Another strength is the depiction of the porn industry. It was neither shown as a beautiful world nor a conscienceless one. This decision towards the porn industry gave the film a realistic, even a relatable, tone. This is something Boogie Nights (1997) never achieved.
There are a lot of similarities between the two films, but LoveLace is no Boogie Nights, and Boogie Nights is no LoveLace. Which is understandable, because these are different stories of exploitation.
LoveLace has a few errors, but overall it is a movie deserving of a viewing. It captures your attention, but fails to haunt you like a great movie of this subject matter needs to do.
The movie is very enjoyable, but nothing about the it makes it standout in the sea of thousands of movies that comes out this year.