Linda Lovelace's story remains difficult to tell on-screen.
Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman's biopic of porn actress Linda Lovelace has been in development for some time. It's no secret that before Amanda Seyfried and Peter Sarsgaard came along, Kate Hudson was offered the role in 2011, with James Franco in talks to play Linda's husband Chuck Traynor.
Peter Sarsgaard [L] and Amanda Seyfried [R] In Lovelace
By November 2011, Epstein and Friedman began to sure up the cast, with the lead stars put in place and Sharon Stone, Juno Temple and West Bentley coming on-board. Franco ended up taking the role of Hugh Hefner.
As we all know, Lovelace's dark story is fairly complex and doubts over whether the directors could convey it effectively on-screen were commonplace. In an era before the internet, Lovelace's movie Deep Throat was a pornographic phenomenon. The first theatrically released movie of its kind, it had a real story, humor, jokes and of course, sex.
Escaping her strict religious upbringing, Linda discovered freedom and married the charismatic Chuck Trayor after becoming a global star. She became a fervent spokesperson for sexual freedom and hedonism, though years later revealed the true turmoil and abuse that she had suffered at the hands of the closest person in her life.
Sharon Stone Is Unrecognizable In 'Lovelace'
"With Deep Throat on DVD, it's still possible to see every inch of Linda Lovelace without ever seeing the woman herself in focus. Lovelace, ahem, blows it," said the Village Voice's Amy Nicholson in her review of the movie, which hits theaters this weekend.
"Don't look to this skin-deep biopic to offer any insights beyond the head-slappingly superficial," said Keith Uhlich of Time Out New York. See a pattern emerging here?
"Lovelace is a respectable job, but it never goes deep," said the New York Magazine, while Slant said, "Lost in the music, mustaches, and furniture of the early '70s, this docudrama of a porn star's exploitation isn't nearly painful enough."
Critics Are Not Convinced Amanda Seyfried Got To The Heart of the Character
Clearly, Epstein and Friedman have sacrificed the true telling of a seriously dark story for a down the line biopic.
The Guardian's Damon Wise opined that the filmmakers had at least tried to tell Lovelace's story, writing, "Though Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman's handsomely mounted period piece evokes the era with impressive detail, Lovelace's journey remains difficult to tell."
Interestingly, there's another Lovelace biopic in the works (probably held back), fearuring Malin Akerman in the lead role. Inferno: A Linda Lovelace Story will also star Matt Dillon, Sasha Grey and Paz de la Huerta. Maybe that will get to the heart of things, though don't hold your breath.
Lovelace hits theaters in the U.S on August 9, 2013.