She was and is easily the most tortured woman in the history of porn. Born Linda Boreman, Linda Lovelace (Amanda Seyfried) was a concoction of male fantasy at its basest. How she found herself in the position of being the most famous, sought after woman in the pornographic industry was really a stroke (pardon the pun) of bad luck. In Lovelace, Linda’s tumultuous life unfolds like something of a soap opera—but with far more cinematic scope and a heroine far more endearing.
Linda’s strict mother, Dorothy (Sharon Stone), was always extremely mistrustful of Linda. Living at their house at age 20, Linda was treated with the rules of a preadolescent. When Chuck came along, it seemed like the perfect way out of a prison-like existence. Not yet aware that she was trading one prison for another, Linda allowed herself to believe that she was truly in love with Chuck. Even when Chuck would hit on her best friend, Patsy (Juno Temple), Linda, on some level, chose to remain oblivious. But, ultimately, this forced oblivion cost her, and by the time she was ready to break free, it was too late.
Seyfired, who has always proven herself to be an adept actress, renders Lovelace with a certain vulnerability and intelligence. That being said, it’s difficult to imagine the original choice for the role, Kate Hudson, playing her with half as much integrity. Her understated performance works well with the “rewind” type method of the film, as the story goes back to show what was going on behind the scenes. As for Peter Sarsgaard playing Chuck Traynor, well, you would be hard-pressed to find someone who could play him with such sleazy grace. Like the role of Linda, Chuck’s character was originally to be portrayed by someone else—specifically James Franco, who ended up playing a cameo-like role as Hugh Hefner.
How Linda came to star in Deep Throat, the highest grossing porn of all-time, was an escalation of Chuck prostituting her for money and making porn movies of his own starring Linda. Upon showing a reel of Linda giving head to porn director Gerard Damiano (Hank Azaria), Linda was a shoo-in, regardless of her unconventional porn star looks (a.k.a. not blonde and massively titted). Co-star and makeup artist Dolly Sharp (the always amazing Debi Mazar) was among the first to notice something off about Chuck and Linda’s relationship as she covered Linda’s bruises with concealer.
Among other out of sequenced events in the timeline of Lovelace is a night when Chuck sold Linda to five men who gang raped her. The necessity of re-organizing certain events seems necessary to the stylized nature of the film. For instance, the night of said gang rape, when Linda tries to escape from Chuck afterward, the police catch sight of the scuffle and end up further demeaning Linda by called her “the blow job girl.” And, largely, that was always what Linda would come to be defined by, even after releasing the 1980 memoir, Ordeal, a book she had to pass a polygraph test for in order to get published.
Lovelace is, in the end, a film that does its best to toe the line between depicting Linda Lovelace as an inculpable martyr and a complete weakling. The biopic also fails to mention that Linda did end up starring in a sequel to Deep Throat, aptly titled Deep Throat Part II. Still, Linda’s collective time onscreen amounted to less than five hours. But for someone with such little screen time, Lovelace remains one of the most illustrious porn stars—along with Marilyn Chambers, who Traynor married after Lovelace divorced him.