For years I’d been wondering what was all that fuss about Deep Throat and finally when I got to watch it guess what I felt? Nothing! I still didn’t get the fuss. It was a cheesy 70s porn movie and nothing else. It was until I read into what went behind the movie and its lead Linda Lovelace that I became more intrigued with it. For the newbies, Deep Throat was a phenomenal and controversial porn movie of the 70’s which told the wafer-thin story of Linda who had her clitoris in her throat rather than you-know-where. It was just a mere porn movie, which grossed over 600 million dollars, on the surface but what mattered happened behind the screen. I wanted to watch the original 2005 documentary Inside Deep Throat which delved behind the porn sensation but unfortunately I couldn’t find it anywhere.
I was glad when I heard about a biopic on Linda Lovelace played by one of my fav, Amanda Seyfried. I was not familiar with the Rob Epstein & Jeffrey Friedman director duo, so I didn’t know whether to get my hopes high or not. An ensemble cast of James Franco, Sharon Stone, Robert Patrick, Juno Temple, Chloe Sevigny, Wes Bentley upped the ante intriguing me.
More than a biopic, Lovelace felt more like a commercial movie made to cash in on less drama and more on the concept of Deep Throat with some nudity thrown in. And no don’t be excited when you read ‘nudity’, just because Lovelace was based on porn doesn’t mean the movie needed to be pornographic in nature. Yes Amanda Seyfried does go topless in a couple of scenes which I thought was gratuitous. At its heart it was still supposed to be a drama but clumsy edits and a weak script made it less so. Lovelace does handle marital abuse issues well, you do get to see how Linda was abused, verbally, beaten and f**cked to do her husbands bidding ending in porn and even prostitution and how Sasgard’s initially charming Chuck turned into monster in the second act.
Amanda Seyfried seemed to me like the wrong choice and was less like her real life counterpart but nonetheless gorgeous. She fit the role of the naive, girl-next-door perfectly but I don’t think that was how the real Linda was. She portrayed the best of helplessness and being mistreated by her husband. It was more of how she was in the 3rd act that I desperately wanted to see, how she rebelled against her abusive husband but there was hardly 10 minutes of it. Despite Amanda’s talents she was overshadowed by all the heavyweight ‘stars’ that was on screen and especially by Peter Sasgard. This guy just can’t play a nice guy, can he? And bloody hell can he play an antagonist well…I am sure he’d do well even when he’s sleepwalking. Apart from Amanda’s Linda and Sasgard’s Chuck every other character felt like props. I do understand the core focus is on Linda but despite other characters’ screentime they was absolutely felt like cameos. To see Sharon Stone’s performance as Linda’s mom, was to a degree, relieving.
The fact that the movie was shot cheaply didn’t add to it either. I don’t know if it was deliberate so as to give it a VHS feel but it felt drab most of the time, almost like those TV movies. In the end Lovelace felt just as cheesy as Deep Throat and was adrift in genre-confusion, was it a drama or comedy? was it commercial or artsy? I dont know and I suppose neither does the directors as well. Lovelace could have been a compelling drama about how Linda fought back and an eye-opener for women all around the world, now, facing the same issues but sadly it comes nowhere near as I expected. For what its worth watch it for Amanda Seyfried and Peter Sasgard’s chemistry and un-chemistry.