Lovelace movie review: A sexy Raggedy Ann?

Aug 9, 2013 at 9:00 a.m. ET

A lot of us are too young to remember the 1972 porno Deep Throat with the ridiculous premise that a woman’s clitoris was between her tonsils. Linda Lovelace was an unlikely sex symbol but became the icon for both the sexual revolution and later, for the anti-porn movement. This movie tries to undress the real woman behind Deep Throat.

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3.5 Stars: Perfect for fans of the gritty films from the 1970s

Lovelace begins in Florida where a teenage Linda Boreman (Amanda Seyfried) lives with her ultra-religious parents, John and Dorothy Boreman (Robert Patrick and Sharon Stone). Linda’s a cautious teen with a promiscuous past, but all bets are off when she meets the highly charismatic Chuck (Peter Sarsgaard).

Little does Linda know that Chuck is connected to the porn industry and sees her as his meal ticket. After the couple is married, Chuck convinces Linda to perform in adult movies and together they begin the roller-coaster ride that is the movie Deep Throat.

Linda Lovelace isn’t your typical bimbo porn star. One of the porn producers describes her as a “sexy Raggedy Ann,” so perhaps her earthy, girl-next-door look is part of her appeal. That, and her seeming love for fellatio. Deep Throat was a movie that combined a mix of comedy and male-centric sexy-time, playing out the ridiculous premise that a woman discovers her clitoris is in the back of her throat. Lovelace

Lovelace tells two stories: The first is about a sexually free-spirited young woman, enjoying her life as a sex symbol. The other story is about an abused woman, forced into porn by her violent and greedy husband, as explained in her tell-all book, where Linda claimed her husband Chuck would literally hold a gun to her head if she didn’t comply with his vile demands.

This movie is dark. Amanda Seyfried gives a stellar, heartbreaking performance, but it's hard to watch. The role of Lovelace is about as polar opposite from Les Mis’ Cosette as you can get, and it’s understandable that Seyfried wants to prove her range as an actress, but watching her play a woman in so much peril is quite distressing.


That said, James Franco plays an absolutely charming and lecherous Hugh Heffner, taking Linda up to the movie theater balcony and asking her to let "life imitate art" so he can get his own thrills.

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Bottom line: This is an interesting take on a woman’s journey though the porn industry and sexual revolution, but it’s not for the faint of heart.

Running time is 1 hour, 32 minutes. There are no extra scenes after the credits.

Photo credit: Radius-TWC