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Lovelace

It’s 1972 and Linda Boreman (played by Amanda Seyfried) is 20 years old. She’s been raised in middle America by her strict, religious and upstanding parents Dorothy (by Sharon Stone) and John (by Robert Patrick). She’s had her moments … a teen pregnancy a year or so before, but on the whole she’s a naive young woman who just wants a happy life, good marriage and to please her husband. Her friend, Patsy, (by Juno Temple) is far more curious and adventurous and she drags Linda along to parties to get her to “loosen up a little”. Linda meets charming Chuck Traynor (by Peter Sarsgaard) and they instantly fall in love. Although her parents are unimpressed, she moves in with Chuck and they are very happy together. Wanting to please her husband, Linda is happy to learn all the ways to make him happy … and he’s keen to teach her. Their sex life is healthy and – thanks to Chuck’s coaching – Linda develops some desirable skills for Chuck. Chuck decides he can take advantage of Linda’s skills and he uses his contacts, Butchie Peraino (by Bobby Cannavale), Gerry Damiano (by Hank Azaria) and Anthony Romano (by Chris Noth) to get her a role in a porn movie. She innocently complies and they produce “Deep Throat” – the first scripted porn movie. She’s unknown in the industry, and they promote her as Linda Lovelace – her notoriety soon grows when the movie is released. She’s a huge success and their life changes significantly. Chuck builds a business based on Linda’s reputation – but life is not what it seems for Linda. She is subjected to cruel abuse by Chuck and she never sees a penny of the money she has earned for him. She lives in a dark world of violence, fear and abuse – and nobody knows it …..

This is a good movie because it’s a true story. You won’t see any porn here – in fact, whilst there’s a lot of swearing, there’s very little nudity. It has been made to tell the story of the domestic violence endured by Linda Boreman during her “career” as Linda Lovelace. Her struggle to be heard by anybody through these years is palpable and the drama is portrayed well. Only her friend, Patsy, has any inkling that things are troubled. Linda’s parents are oblivious to what’s happening in her real life – seeing only the public persona and getting stuck in their own intolerance and misunderstanding of their daughter. Chuck Traynor is a nasty piece of work – entirely greedy, selfish, cruel and utterly heartless. His treatment of Linda is horrific. The performances are good – Amanda Seyfried is marvellous as Linda Boreman/Lovelace, Sharon Stone is totally unrecognisable as Dorothy Boreman, as is James Franco as Hugh Hefner. Peter Sarsgaard is very good – he’s frightening in this role. Chris Noth’s portrayal as Anthony Romano is great and it’s good to see Demi Mazar here too. Linda Boreman finally found the strength to speak out and also wrote a memoior about her horrific personal life, known as “Ordeal”.

Made in 2013. Directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman.

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Posted by on August 10, 2014 in Movies

 

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The Insider

Lowell Bergman (played by Al Pacino) is a long experienced producer on the US “60 Minutes” television show. One day he receives some heavy research on the health effects of nicotine and contacts industrial chemist Jeffrey Wigand (by Russell Crowe) to interpret it for him. Wigand has recently been fired from his job at a tobacco company and Bergman sees that he has deep resentment about it. He follows his instinct and when Wigand is reluctant to talk to him for fear he will break his severance agreement with the company, Bergman senses a big story. Wigand gets more company pressure not to talk, which exposes him to rising tension and risks the safety of his wife Liane (by Diane Venora) and family. He agrees to a high-risk interview with Mike Wallace (by Christopher Plummer), then CBS must navigate all the legal and business ramifications to decide how best to present the story, for the benefit of everyone involved – Wigand, the tobacco companies, the public and themselves. Jeffrey Wigand finds out how it feels have the courage to “blow the whistle” and tell the truth for the greater good, but to go up against the might of big business at the same time.

This is a good drama. It’s a long movie, but that’s important to develop the story appropriately. I was not aware of this incident at the time, so I thought the movie would be primarily focused on Jeffrey Wigand, – it is, but the real star is Lowell Bergman. Al Pacino shines here – he’s just a natural talent. He portrays Bergman with authenticity and his performance balances very well with both Russell Crowe’s work and the performance of Christopher Plummer as Mike Wallace – all three are excellent. The production is dark, literally, and there is little in the way of enhancement with music or visuals – which puts the focus squarely on the story – again, quite appropriately. This is not a story to be played with. Russell Crowe was nominated in several forums as Best Actor for this role (including the Academy Award [Oscar]). He was awarded by several Film Critics Societies, but he was not awarded an Oscar, yet again. Christopher Plummer received an award from the Boston Society of Film Critics in 2000 for his marvellous work. The production itself was severally nominated for Best Cinematography, Film Editing, Best Picture, Sound and Screenplay. It is based on the 1999 article “The Man Who Knew Too Much” by Marie Brenner. It’s good.

Made in 1999. Directed by Michael Mann.

 
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Posted by on June 2, 2013 in Movies

 

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