Amanda Seyfried’s ‘Lovelace’ Doesn’t Go Deep Enough
Lovelace, the biopic of Deep Throat star Linda Lovelace, could have just as easily been called A Tale of Two Lindas. What starts as a dreamy fantasy about a girl who finds freedom and the fame she always craved as the poster girl for the sexual revolution quickly sours, circling back to re-tell the same astronomical rise, filling in the dark parts. It’s a fascinating idea, to tell a story like this in two “alternate” universes: one, Linda the star, the other, Linda the manipulated and battered bride. It’s a promising idea that never fully blossoms into success on screen.
In the lead role, Amanda Seyfried shines. She shows her familiar charm as Linda Boreman, the naïve girl who would become Linda Lovelace, the legend. But her real work is done in the heartbreaking second half, as Linda is repeatedly beaten, raped and threatened by her husband Chuck Traynor (Peter Sarsgaard). It’s a performance that sticks with you. Together, Sarsgaard and Seyfried have developed a smart chemistry that makes their highs and lows all the more intense.
It’s perhaps not a completely honest portrait, glazing over some details of Lovelace’s life. Though that’s not surprising, given the entirely sympathetic tone directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman certainly intended.
The biggest problem is the film’s brief third act where the whole show grinds to a halt. Our story lurches six years forward, Lovelace is now Linda Marchiano: wife and mother. We’re given the martyr’s salvation, but never her recovery.
A story worth telling falls flat here, under the weight of its own storytelling. Epstein and Friedman’s stylistic choices end up outshining the heart-wrenching tale of their heroine; a starlet completely drowned out by her spotlight.