Porn star biopic strips away the gloss

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TO Lovelace 1

LOVELACE

DIRECTOR: Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman

CAST: Amanda Seyfried, Peter Sarsgaard, Sharon Stone, Adam Brody and Juno Temple.

CLASSIFICATION: 16 LSVND

RUNNING TIME: 87 minutes

RATING: *** 

TO Lovelace 2

CHUCK Traynor (Sarsgaard, pictured left) is in the middle of teaching Linda Boreman (Seyfried, pictured right) her signature sex trick when he says “Don’t forget to breathe.” By the time she comes up for air, she’s Linda Lovelace, the poster child of the sexual revolution and a bona fide star.

Deep Throat, the blue movie that became a 1970s cultural symbol and grossed a reported $600 million (R6.3 billion), is synonymous with Linda Lovelace. But she made a paltry $1 250 from the film, and the true cost of her 17-day foray into the adult entertainment industry is what informs this biopic.

It starts out with a naive Linda trying to escape the restrictive household headed by her mother (Stone). She gets her first glimpse of the groovy 1970s through Chuck, a sleazy bar-owner/pimp who charms his way into her bed and then auctions her off to the highest bidder to supplement his dwindling cash flow. The consequences for not hopping to his tune are dire. Linda takes a beating for any perceived slight in a downward spiral that eventually sees her gang-raped in a hotel room after Chuck threatens her at gunpoint.

The film plays out in two tones. At first, we watch as Linda sheds her good girl image to become a porn star, rubbing shoulders with Hugh Hefner and Sammy Davis Jr at glittering Hollywood events.

But behind the scenes, she inhabits a dark world. When the key scenes are replayed, we get a glimpse of Linda’s ordeal, and it is harrowing stuff. Linda is thwarted by circumstance and her reputation every time she tries to escape Chuck’s clutches.

Seyfried excels at playing Linda. The hell she is put through would leave a mark on the most grizzled of survivors, but at the film’s cutesy end, Linda is still the same teenage girl.

Sarsgaard’s brooding menace as the thuggish Chuck is captivating as he switches from suave older man to gorilla pimp. Stone, as Linda’s mother, almost steals the show, playing a woman hardened by the scourge of her own past.

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