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  • Lovelace

    Watched this on Netflix last night.

    *** SPOILERS AHOY ***

    I'd put it down as a noble failure. They try an idea that works on paper but not so much on screen - basically the first 45 minutes is an idealised, romantic version of her life - the popular myth at the time. Then the second half of the film revisits the same ground but revealing the truth - that she was being abused, raped and coerced into porn. Then you have a fairly brief final act that deals with the Chuck Traynor storyline, offers some kind of redemption in making her a hero for abused women and reuniting with her parents who'd pretty much disowned her.

    The problem with this approach is it means the first half of the movie - and it really is half the running time - is basically a lie, or at least a partial truth. And you know it is. You know that this is a sanitised version of the story. So there's a limit to how invested you are in any of this because it feels false. Which would be fun for say 10, 20 minutes max - but a whole half of the film is pushing the audience's patience.

    The other issue is one that I guess plays in to any biopic - 90% of this was familiar to anyone with a decent knowledge of pop-culture. If you've seen INSIDE DEEP THROAT then to be honest there's nothing new here. Even if you haven't, I'd guess most people are familiar with the Deep Throat story, with Lovelace's transition into figurehead of anti-porn. So it all started to feel more like a re-enactment than its own specific story. If anything, some of the more interesting aspects of her post-porn life - the way celebrity feminists ended up using her much the way Traynor did - are ignored in favour of a sanitised handful of title cards at the end - ironically doing the same clean-up job that the first half of the film seems to condemn.

    Having said all that, Amanda Seyfried gives a great performance, Peter Sarsgaard does his best in one of the most thankless roles imaginable whilst the supporting cast is packed with some great names. As far as I could tell the first half was shot to mimic the grainy 16mm of the 70s - although this could have been Netflix's crappy compression... But it managed to feel 70s without being too silly. So it's a shame that the overall product was so disappointing - ironically given the subject, they chose to go wide rather than deep.
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