Thursday 22 August 2013, 17:20
Lovelace is one of the most traumatic films I've seen in a long time. The biopic of adult film star Linda Lovelace is strewn with pornographic images as well as hideous accounts of the domestic violence that she faced at the hand of her husband, Chuck. And who knew that Amanda Seyfried’s performance in anything would linger in the mind for any other reason than how insipid it was. It was an incredibly brave performance, not only because of the nude scenes but the violence too. The extremity of it made it the hardest to watch, especially knowing that it was based on truth. The movie details Linda’s seemingly happy-go-lucky life and marriage to Chuck Traynor, as well as her move into the porn industry, seen as glamorous and exciting, with pool parties and the meeting of Sammy Davis Jr. and a young Hugh Hefner (a classic James Franco cameo).
Then comes the title “Six Years Later…” and we see Linda taking a polygraph test to ensure that she’s telling the truth in her autobiography, which is a very different story from the one we’ve seen so far. Then we’re back to the beginning, watching scenarios we’ve already witnessed, except this time, with other scenes tacked on. The extras are the violence, the coercion, Linda being forced into taking part in things at gunpoint, the sexual atrocities and the charming Hugh Hefner telling, not asking, Linda to perform specific acts on him. These were the scenes that brought tears to my eyes because we see Seyfried’s innocence that has been so prevalent in her previous films (Mama Mia!, Les Misérables) get snuffed out as the film unfolds, demonstrating how much Seyfried has grown as an actress.
A good film doesn’t have to mean that it’s an enjoyable watch. Pan’s Labyrinth was a brilliantly made film but I could never put myself through it again, I cried for about 2 hours afterwards. But Lovelace, like Pan’s Labyrinth, stayed with me for days after, I don’t think I’ll forget the images or the way that Linda’s trauma was portrayed. Although she was desperate for help from her cold, Christian mother (an unrecognisable turn from Sharon Stone), she was turned away on numerous occasions, despite plenty of other people knowing what went on behind closed doors.
Set in the 1970s, the costumes were fantastic and transported you 40 years into the past, as did the facial hair and the mere presence of Chris Noth. Peter Sarsgaard, the older, predatory man opposite Carey Mulligan in in An Education, was the perpetually creepy and disgusting Chuck Traynor and although not a character to like or even love to hate, he took on an extremely difficult role with gusto and executed it with dignity. Lovelace will make you think twice about what you might watch alone, in your spare time and will stay with you for a long time after you’ve seen it. Maybe not one for a cheery Saturday night out but definitely worth a watch nonetheless.