Amanda Seyfried to me, is one of the more interesting up and coming actress in Hollywood. She has that sort of distinct look and personality that makes her stand out, and has done a wide range of different performances. From her fun take on a dumb blonde in Mean Girls, to a good dramatic turn in Les Miserables, and then even a disastrously bad one in In Time, she has had a very mixed track record. She has had a great deal of success as a supporting actress in smaller roles, but her few starring roles have mostly not turned well, with her characters usually being rather bland and not using her true talents. Now Seyfried is given her biggest opportunity yet in Lovelace.
Taking on the role of Linda Lovelace is perhaps one of the biggest challenges Seyfried has had in her young career. Linda was one of the biggest entertainment commodities for her time, but then evaporated from fame shortly after. She had roaring highs, and some seriously sad lows, and while Seyfried is able to capture that, Lovelace just is a very mediocre biopic.
Lovelace tells the story of Linda Lovelace (Seyfried), a girl turned star after her role in the porno Deep Throat, and her attempt to escape the dangerous life of being used and abused in the porn industry by her controlling husband Chuck Traynor (Peter Sarsgaard).
As much as Seyfried has struggled in leading roles, here she really breakes out. Seyfried is fantastic here, nailing the truly charming, child-like nature of Linda, while being able to capture the wide array of emotions she had during the time. She truly is able to disappear into this role, and give a performance worth of at least award talk.
Playing alongside her is Peter Sarsgaard, who is dynamic as he has ever been as Chuck Traynor. This is perhaps the most unlikable character he has ever played, and the usually likable actor is able to pull off a sinister and layered performance, giving this overall poorly written character far more depth.
The supporting cast is also great. Well respected actors like Sharon Stone, Hank Azaria, Robert Patrick, and Juno Temple are able to disappear into their characters and bring a great deal to their roles. The standout of the bunch is Stone, who has maybe two or three scenes, but makes them very effective without even saying a word.
Lovelace is paced very well. For a very grim biopic, its able to maintain engaging throughout, making its 90 minute running time fly by quickly enough. Even though it was able to move quickly, the problems start in the running time.
For a biopic, Lovelace seems like it’s far too short. The film just feels like it does not have enough time to dive into the more important themes the film is trying to address. Most biopics are around two hours or so for good reason, and that is because that amount of time is needed to give the full insight that is needed to give a look into this one person’s life. The 90 minute running time here is far too brisk for anything to be developed.
As I previously mentioned, Lovelace really just gives a look at Linda and these characters on a very base level. Instead of giving us the audience an in-depth perspective into why Linda was who she was, they just give us a very basic answer, that she was naive. While watching, there was no knowledge revealed about the character that was not already known about her, unlike a great biopic like Lincoln.
Lovelace takes place in the 70’s, which is one of the most interesting periods of time for me. Directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman were able to do a great job capturing the 1950’s in the movie Howl, but here, their efforts seem very by-the-numbers. It has all the same generic 70’s cliches that you have already seen before, and even done much better before.
Like the style in the film, the story itself is note for note like most standard issue biopics. Lovelace goes through the standard rise and fall that most of these kind of biopics have, which makes these characters and events seem a lot less genuine instead of having the impact it should have.
The narrative of the film is a bit messy. After going forward with a consistent timeline, the second half jumps around way too much, and a lot of the time randomly. The whole second half in general just felt very jarring when it cuts from six years in the future, to six years beforehand, to even more time in advance. Perhaps with a better writer, that could have worked, but scribe Andy Bellin is not able to pull that off.
The movie also feels very tame, kind of in the way of a TV movie. While the second half has some rather dark moments, they are just very tame and executed in a very melodramatic way which is hard to take seriously, which is a shame because these were some tragic events.
A minor complaint, James Franco is in the movie as Hugh Hefner, and it’s probably the weirdest casting of the year so far. He is just kind of there for one scene, then is never in the movie again. Why would you get Franco in the movie, just for one scene!
Lovelace is as standard issue as you can get with a biopic, giving a very made for TV-feel to such a great story. It’s a shame, because the cast really does give it its all, but weak direction and script just make this very average.
Take a Drink: to all the awkward 70’s style facial hair.
Take a Drink: during all the melodramatic rape scenes, I mean yikes!
Do a Shot: for each random celebrity that you notice.