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    Review: Lovelace

    If you're not familiar with the story of Linda Lovelace you could be forgiven for being misled by the Boogie Nights-style branding of this film; however a sexy 70s romp this is not. Lovelace is in fact the story of one woman’s experience of abuse, domestic violence and exploitation.

    Linda Boreman (Lovelace is unsurprisingly a stage name) is famous as the star of Deep Throat, the most successful and mainstream porno of all time. Some time after its release she wrote a book called ‘Ordeal’, detailing her abusive marriage to manager (or rather pimp) Chuck Traynor and revealing the violent way she was forced into pornography against her will.

    The film takes an interesting two-tiered approach to telling the story - splitting the narrative almost exactly in the middle. The first half sets the scene; innocent suburban girl swaps repressive parental home for New York and marriage to barely- charming hustler Traynor, who orchestrates her rise to pornographic fame; an x-rated fairytale. The second half of the film fast-forwards to a point where Linda has divorced Traynor, released a tell-all book, and extricated herself from porn.

    Going back from this point the film retraces the story of the first half from Linda’s perspective, showing what was happening behind closed doors. It’s a grim tale - and while the sexism and swindling of the industry is hardly surprising, the extent of her abuse is truly disturbing.

    It’s not a perfect film or necessarily even a great film (at times the artistic license gives it a made- for-TV feel), but the quality of the performances lift it some notches. Amanda Seyfried is magnetic and believable as the sweet and wide-eyed bombshell-next-door who finds herself the poster girl for fellatio, while Peter Sarsgaard is truly weasley as the deplorable Traynor. There are cameos from many familiar faces, but certainly the most surprising is a literally unrecognisable Sharon Stone as Linda’s acerbic mother.

    As is often the case with biopics the tale is simplified, with shade and nuance flattened out, and perhaps for this reason the film doesn’t hit as hard as it could. Because the story is focused so hard on Linda as the victim, she doesn’t emerge as a fully rounded character - and indeed the filmmakers have chosen not to touch upon the many years she subsequently spent as a feminist anti-pornography activist.

    What it does do, however, is tell (or retell) a story that undoubtedly needs to be told, and does so in an engaging way. While at the time Deep Throat was widely celebrated as a symbol of sexual liberation, it will now be viewed as anything but.