Bored with most everything in her life, especially her parents Dorothy (Sharon Stone) and John (Robert Patrick) who don't see eye-to-eye about her personal life, Linda Boreman (Amanda Seyfried) is choice prime for anything that's exciting. Her best friend Patsy (Juno Temple) does a pretty good job of getting her out of the house and when she meets the hippie Chuck Traynor (Peter Sarsgaard) a curly haired free spirited guy she falls for his slick approach.
Wanting to get away from her domineering parents she starts dating Traynor who takes her to New York where they get married. When Chuck gets her a talent try out with a major porn director Gerry Damiano (Hank Azaria) she reluctantly agrees.
The film goes on to show how she was controlled by Chuck, his abuse, introduction of drugs and finally her stardom. Directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman hold back nothing showing the spousal abuse and her acceptance into the gritty porn industry. The two mold Seyfried into the freckle faced naive young woman then slowing change her character into an opportunist that reaches theater stardom in an industry that was mostly super 8 silent films shown in the privacy of the bedroom.
Keeping to Linda Lovelace's book, the two directors show the brutality, pressure and pimping of the eventual queen of porn by Traynor. Giving one of his best performances as the man who gets Lovelace her one starring role, Peter Sarsgaard takes his Chuck Traynor into a dark place. Pressuring his talented doll he uses her as chattel wanting to gain a big payout for him from her acting. Pushing the producers to give Linda a cut more representative of her growing fame, the actor shows a depraved view of Traynor taking his ire out on the woman when he gets rebuked. He makes his performance Oscar worthy, more so than Seyfried who I predict will also get a nod.
Doing a fine job Sharon Stone shows the bitterness and domineering personality of Dorothy Boreman degrading her daughter for a past that included getting pregnant and spoiling her religious upbringing. When she wants to leave with Chuck, Dorothy's willing to throw her daughter to the curb like trash. Stone's face tells it all, especially when Lovelace becomes a news item on television, the final straw that will never allow reconciliation.
The sets are retro giving the film a feel of the 60's with flowery wallpaper, corded phones, classic cars and a wardrobe that stylizes the era. The director's cameras dip into grey areas where the spousal abuse seethes on the screen and uses close-ups that show the damage. It's not until we get a view of Lovelace taking a bow following a special screening of her film does the woman come out of the shadows to take pleasure in her fame.
Lovelace has been rated R by the MPAA for strong sexual content, nudity, language, drug use and some domestic violence. Be cautious when deciding to allow immature children under the age of 17 see the film as it does have some scenes that are very inappropriate.
FINAL ANALYSIS: An extremely good biopic of a different kind of film star. (A)