Hey folks, Harry here... After watching Rob Epstein & Jeffrey Friedman's film with James Franco called HOWL... I pretty much made a personal oath to be there for anything they'd make. I found HOWL to be an incredible film - containing amazing work from Franco. Now Epstein & Friendman have shot a Linda Lovelace feature for Millenium called LOVELACE - and they've had a test screening of that film in Los Angeles last night according to Sin O. Matic, one of our readers that shares his experiences with the rest of us! The film doesn't have a release date yet - but with this cast I can't wait to see what they've come up with. Lovelace's story is so incredibly fucked up - this will be a tough film to watch. The emotional side of this story is one of profound spousal abuse, I've never found any of the Linda Lovelace porn as something I could even vaguely be turned on to - simply due to the knowledge of abuse. This is going to something emotional I feel. In particular, I'm dying to see Sharon Stone in this film as Lovelace's mother. Sin-O-Matic has high praise for her. Now, here ya go...
I saw one of the first audience test screenings of Lovelace last night in Los Angeles and thought you and your readers would be interested. This is the one with Amanda Seyfried, not to be confused with the sure-to-be inferior Inferno: A Linda Lovelace Story, the one that Lindsay Lohan dropped out of and was replaced by Malin Ackerman. Let me start off by saying the acting is phenomenal. Amanda Seyfried totally disappears into the role of porn star Linda Lovelace who was in one of the best known porn films of all time, Deep Throat.
Peter Sarsgaard looks great with his wife-beater goatee-ish beard playing Chuck Traynor, her douchebag husband who threatens her at gunpoint not only to appear in Deep Throat so he can reap the very little financial benefits to pay off his debts, but also prostitutes her out, to four or five guys in one scene. Honestly I've never seen a young Hugh Hefner and James Franco was fine, if not a little over-the-top with the mannerisms and slanty eyes. All the others were great as well, like Hank Azaria as the director of Deep Throat, Sex and the City's Chris Noth as the Italian gangsterish financier, and Juno Temple as Linda's best friend. Chloe Sevigny, Eric Roberts, Sarah Jessica Parker as Gloria Steinem, and especially Wes Bentley are barely in the film, playing bit parts.
Beside Seyfried, the standout here is Sharon Stone as Linda's mother Dorothy. I totally did not recognize her at all, and others didn't either until someone blurted out, who did Sharon Stone play? She completely immerses herself in the role and is unrecognizable, with her dark hair and thin face and figure, looking quite old, but it's a fabulous performance as Linda's devoutly religious mother who believes in marriage no matter what.
As for the film itself directed by documentary filmmakers who directed Franco in their first feature in last year's Howl, Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman do a fine job of directing and getting great performances - they seem like real actors' directors. However storywise, the film is a downer. And it lacks the entertainment value of say Boogie Nights. While there are some interesting structural liberties taken, for the most part, this feels like a typical biopic that's just telling what happened in Linda's life without really delving deeper and finding the themes and uplifting aspects, like say Scorsese's The Aviator or Howard's A Beautiful Mind.
The third act is glossed over in about 5-10 minutes and this is the most interesting aspect of the film. Linda takes her former name back, speaks out against the porn industry, goes on Phil Donahue, and teams up with Gloria Steineim to stand up for women. She even speaks before a congressional committee investigating pornography. She remarried and had two kids, but we don't even meet her family. And it would have been an interesting juxtaposition to see how her relationship was with her new husband as opposed to the horrible one with Chuck.
Also, as the documentary Inside Deep Throat points out, Linda later revitalized "Linda Lovelace" posing in magazines trying to make a few bucks off her name, which apparently many others were but she never did. Again this would have been an interesting aspect to investigate, especially since she was so outspoken against the exploitation of women.
Lovelace even has an epilogue which says Deep Throat made $600 million, and Linda only made $1,250, which the film insinuates Chuck probably took even that money. It's a sad sad story, but you really needed that third act, at least the fighting for women's rights and speaking out against pornography, to really make Lovelace seem like a film, a cinematic experience, instead of just like an HBO biopic with great acting, which is what it feels like now.
For those of you curious about how graphic the film gets, you get to see Seyfried topless, a lot, but that's about it. You get simulated "deep throating" with her hair covering the action, or filmed from the back, and almost rape-like sex scene between her and Chuck, but nothing on the level of The Brown Bunny, a film where Sevigny performed all-out fellatio on Vincent Gallo. Since Seyfried already went topless in Chloe, there's not much new to see here.
I hope your readers enjoy, and you can just call me:
Sin A. Matic