Lovelace Blu-Ray Review
|AVC MPEG-4||DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1||MA15+||Amanda Seyfried|
|Amanda Seyfried as porn star Linda Lovelace.|
Porn. There's no denying that in this digitally connected age it's everywhere, if not hardcore porn, then soft-core and plenty of sexual imagery. In 1972 however porn was still a very taboo subject, and not a common commodity, but that changed with the release of Deep Throat a hardcore feature film that played in cinemas around the globe, becoming a phenomenon and making Linda Lovelace (real name Linda Boreman) a household name. This film, simply titled Lovelace, chronicles the major events in her life...
Escaping a strict religious family, Linda discovered freedom and the high-life when she fell for and married charismatic hustler Chuck Traynor. As Linda Lovelace she became an international sensation—less centerfold fantasy than a charming girl-next-door with an impressive capacity for fellatio. Fully inhabiting her new identity, Linda became an enthusiastic spokesperson for sexual freedom and uninhibited hedonism. Six years later she presented another, utterly contradictory, narrative to the world—and herself as the survivor of a far darker story.
Lovelace is a hard film to review. It't not fun, it doesn't have a great script, and the subject matter alone will turn many people off, but the actors and their performances are solid for the most part, and this film does tell the story of one of the pioneers in the porn industry - for better or worse. Indeed, around half way into the film we jump forward six years when Linda is undergoing a polygraph test to determine if she is telling the truth about spousal abuse by her first husband Chuck. The film then jumps back prior to the release of Deep Throat showing Linda's life, and replay some of the earlier scenes to show the abuse. Obviously a film about the worlds most well know porn film and porn stars is one for adults but the film, with the MA15+ rating and advice of "Strong Themes, Sex Scenes and Drug Use" isn't as explicit as expected.
|Filming the classic "skin flick" Deep Throat.|
What we can praise, however, are the pretty impressive performance across the board. Amanda Seyfried is pretty impressive as Linda Lovelace, Peter Sarsgaard is great as Chuck Traynor while Juno Temple is good in her small role as Linda's friend Patsy. For us, the standout performance is from a near unrecognisable Sharon Stone who plays Linda's mother Dorothy - she is so made down for this role that it took us a moment to recognise her while Robert Patrick is also pretty good as Linda's father John Boreman. The one performance we didn't click with was that of Hugh Hefner played by James Franco. Not only is he too young for the role, but he just doesn't really have the level of suaveness or sophistication we expect from the Playboy founder - although perhaps we are taking his modern day persona into consideration rather than that from 40 years ago.
|Lovelace is set in the 1970s, before internet porn!|
With a lean 93 minute runtime the film feels a little lightweight with several key moments in Linda's life overlooked - early bestiality films, her later anti-porn stance, medical issues including a double mastectomy and liver transplant which due to costs saw her forced back to longerie shoots and signing Deep Throat memorabilia for money, and campaigning against spousal abuse.
Perhaps the most disheartening aspect of this film is that in the post-film notes the filmmakers confirm Linda's earned $1250 from Deep Throat - but neglect to mention that she never saw a cent of the money with Chuck keeping the money. Then, the notes mention that Linda passed away following a car crash in 2002, while the final note is given to Chuck Traynor who passed away three months after Linda - it yet again makes it seem like Chuck is the dominant, controlling person, just as he was in Linda's life.
|Linda Lovelace became a superstar.|
Lovelace details on of the most controversial, and successful, adult films for all time, with a focus on Linda Lovelace and her (sometimes disputed) spousal abuse. It's not a great film by any stretch of the imagination, but it's a story about a defining moment and film that deserves to be told.
|Juno Temple and Amanday Seyfried in Lovelace.|
Lovelace is presented on Blu-Ray in the film’s original 1.85:1 aspect ratio and has been encoded with the AVC MPEG-4 codec. Interestingly the movie was shot on 16mm film to give it an authentic 1970s look which means a softer look and more grain then most other formats. Having said that the film looks great in this transfer with colours that occasionally pop out nicely while the darker scenes are also handled well. As we've said so many times in the past, the Blu-Ray format is now mature enough that we rarely see major flaws in releases, and this disc isn't going to break that trend.
This film is presented with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (24-bit/48Khz) track that also manages to impress on almost all fronts. We were a little disappointed with the music in the film - being from the 70s we expected a few more iconic track - but given the limited budget of around $US10 million we understand these shortcomings. The dialogue is clear at all times and while surround sound channels and the LFE isn't used in abundance, they do kick in on occasion. Overall a nice sounding disc but not one you would use to show off your sound system.
There is a second audio track on the disc which is turned on by turning off the DTS-HD Master Audio Track and is a Dolby Digital 2.0 track encoded at 192kbps, while the disc also contains an English Audio Descriptive track at the same bitrate. Subtitles are provided with a single English Audio Description track with the dialogue coloured according to who is talking on screen and is accurate to the dialogue.
|It's the 70s, so some drug use in this film.|
Upon starting this Blu-Ray you will encounter several trailers including Salinger (2:26), The Family(2:26) and Afternoon Delight (2:11) which can't be fast forwarded, but can be skipped.
Behind Lovelace (13:57/HD): This is an EPK styled behind the scenes look at the making of the film. Some interviews and on-set footage are provided, but also plenty of clips from the film. Not essential viewing by any means, but it's not too bad.
Lovelace isn't a fun film, but it tells the story of one of the pioneers in the adult film industry. While the film was shot in 16mm film giving it a softness, and high level of grain, the transfer is pretty nice. Still, for the vast majority of people a rental will suffice.
Review By: Dave Warner
Note: All images in this article are Copyright© Village Roadshow. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.