Saturday, March 15, 2014

I "Liked It": Lovelace: A weak movie sprinkled with moments of true emotion

Lovelace (2013) Poster
The main reason my wife and I added Lovelace to the queue was because of Peter Sarsgaard. The main reason my wife did not watch this movie, and I believe never will, is because of everything else about this movie. Not that she’s missing much other than a bad movie that drops the ball big time.

            I know very little of Lovelace (the woman who starred in the most popular adult film (porn) ever) except that she was in the most popular adult film (porn) ever. Can’t say I was really all that interested in her story either until I saw the documentary Inside Deep Throat, which is no longer streaming, but I when it was I watched it and it was very interesting. Now, it’s been awhile since I saw that documentary, but I remember it talking about Lovelace’s claims of abuse and being forced into doing the movie, and how later in life she spoke up about how she was against pornography and the treatment of women, or something like that. Either way, the idea of the first real porn super star changing everything about her life and speaking out against it all, and presenting another side to the things she’d been through that most took for granted that she was okay with – that is a movie I would watch, and I’m still waiting to watch it because Lovelace is not that movie, not matter how hard it tries.

            I think the script is just so feeble a base for everything important in this movie that even the fine actors, Sarsgaard, and Amanda Seyfried (who I think can be a really good actress), are unable to feel comfortable enough to really perform. The whole thing felt like a bad, more tame version of Star 80 (minus the murder but with just a touch of Eric Roberts). The way the story is presented, showing a large chunk of Lovelace’s life, and then going back and showing parts of it all again, but this time you see that she wasn’t really into everything that you just saw not 40 minutes ago, and where the movie stumbles is that it’s not believable. I’m not saying it didn’t happen that way. I wasn’t there. Maybe she was forced into the drugs and the sex, and maybe her biography that she wrote describing her side of things is way better at presenting her side of the story than this movie, but I’m going off of this movie. This movie shows you things but it just doesn’t make them believable.

            At one point, during a party, in the room next door you can hear all this yelling and grunting and slamming against the wall, and the people of the party get a kick out of hearing Lovelace having such wild and crazy sex after having just filmed the porn. Then, later we see the scene again, and no surprise, she’s actually being beat to shit by her husband, but according to the movie no one ever notices that she’s been beaten. Again, I must stress that: “according to the movie”. There are times when Lovelace runs to her mother for help, and she’s been abused but her mother tells her that no matter what you promised to stick by your husband so you have to. It was pretty sad and frustrating, but why is only her mom aware – the one person who won’t do shit? Why not go to her dad? He’s kind of a quite and worthless man compared to his domineering wife, but still!

            I’m just saying that the movie did not show the story well enough, the whole movie feels rushed, rushed the whole way to the end when there’s really nothing that happens.

            So I ended up liking the movie. I know, I know, what the hell, right? Well, without getting too much into my way of rating (my wife has given up trying to understand why I rate movies the way I do), the supporting actors in this movie are great.

            Lovelace’s parents were amazing. I did not recognize her mom at all, and I don’t think it was because of the make-up or anything, I give it to her acting, I thought it was great, and her dad, who did nothing more than just sit and watch TV, almost brought a tear to my eye when he finally talks to his daughter and mentions that he saw her movie. Seyfried’s reaction and his talking about seeing the movie was heartbreaking. His voice, full of confusion and disappointment, and her inability to really defend herself seemed real, and made me think about the parents of those who do porn. I can see both sides, I mean, your kid is old enough to do whatever they damn well please, they wanna do porn you can’t do shit to stop them, so do you get upset, embarrassed, disappointed? Or do you support them, either openly, or silently – meaning, secretly hope they’ll come to their senses while still keeping them close? I have two little kids, a boy and a girl, and I can’t imagine them doing anything that would drive me away from them entirely, but at the same time I can imagine them growing up and doing something that challenges me and my love for them.

            They’re human, and the possibilities are there.

            Either way, as a father, I could see and feel the possible pain that Lovelace’s father was going through, and for me they both got that scene perfectly. If only the whole movie carried such impact.

            I would suggest people see this movie for that scene, as well as another one. The second scene  is when Lovelace is trying to get away from her abusive husband, she gets out of the car and runs down the street with him chasing her, and he catches her just as the cops show up. The cops see that it’s that girl from that porn, and their tone says that she’s probably the trouble here and not her husband, and the look on Lovelace’s face is the look of someone in a horror or sci-fi movie where even those paid to protect don’t care about her.

            The movie may not show the life of Lovelace all that well, but it does at times capture what I could believe to be the feelings of what was going on for her, and those moments when the acting was good and the writing was strong worked well enough to make me like the movie. I wanted to really like it, I wanted it to be interesting and cover the sort of things the documentary did, but had I not seen the documentary first, had I not known about the history of Lovelace and the story of the movie itself, I probably would have found this movie much more interesting.

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