Expectedly tragic, moderately diverting, largely unexceptional
Lovelace Blu-ray Review
Lovelace takes a look at the life of the first real adult movie star, Linda Lovelace, charting her ‘rise’ from innocent, almost prudish roller-skating teen, Linda Boreman, through to the most famous adult film actress who starred in the most famous adult film in history, Deep Throat.
Dabbling in this arena can be fatal to a film’s production even before it gets started – even films about the film industry struggle, and films about the adult film industry face an uphill battle – and, whilst the likes of Boogie Nights and Wonderland prove the exceptions to the rule, there are almost no mainstream features which look at the industry from a female perspective.It’s a difficult subject to tackle – aim dead-on and tell a harrowing, unflinchingly raw tale and you threaten to leave audiences failing to connect the dots between the seemingly ‘glamorous’ industry, and the one that is being portrayed; attempt to depict female strength to rise above and conquer the industry (say, become a director, rather than just star, and thus attempt to temper the inherent misogyny of the environment) and you risk delivering tacit approval; or play it all with a dark sense of humour and people may fail to get the true gravity of the situation.
Whilst Lovelace doesn’t quite solve the dilemma – its novel approach to the subject-matter: offering a double-take look at illusion vs. reality, isn’t exactly Rashomon – it does use this technique to somewhat successfully address the truth, by highlighting its distance from the ‘glamour’. Of course, by juxtaposing illusion with purported reality, Lovelace attempts a blunt commentary on the seedy underbelly of the adult industry itself, but this is less successful, and, at the end of the day, it’s probably only Amanda Seyfried – on strong form in the central role – who survives the piece head-held-high.
Lovelace Blu-ray Picture QualityLovelace comes to UK Region B-locked Blu-ray complete with what is certainly an authentic-looking 1080p High Definition video presentation, in the movie’s original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 widescreen; I say ‘authentic’ because, in an effort to further convince of the period setting, they’ve given it a suitably gritty, throwback look, heavy in grain and unafraid of a little softness around the edges. As such, it’s almost impossible to view the film as ‘demo’ material, in any way, shape or form, but, at the same time, this largely looks like an utterly intentional visual presentation, and so it’s pretty hard to fault as a result.
Suitably throwback in its gritty 70s visuals, the presentation is still flawed beyond its intentional style.
Still, there are faults, and a couple of scenes drop in quality beyond even what would be stylistic for this particular film – in the scene where Linda brings her suitor back home to meet the parents, the zoomed-in feel to the shot comes complete with an unforgivable loss in detail, as well as clunky grain that looks positively blocky. But, beyond those moments where things get out of hand, this is a suitably period-looking flick; 70s throwback in every way right up to and including the colour scheme, which pushes towards the pastel-dominated palette in a big way.
Lovelace Blu-ray Sound QualityThe accompanying DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track does not have to make any such concessions, nor does it lapse into any particularly disappointing territory, instead merely using suitably period musical pieces to set the stage, and , through them, allowing the surround array to sweep you up and dominate your living room. Dialogue is presented clearly and coherently – dominating the fronts and centre channels wherever appropriate – and effects are almost all of limited ambient worth, helping enhance the atmosphere but boasting few moments of significant impact. The score – whether the diegetic or non-diegetic elements – is the high point.
Whilst this might not be a track which will earn some kind of demo recommendation, it does a very good job with the material it has to offer.
Lovelace Blu-ray Extras
A single, relatively short background Featurette dips briefly into the origins of the production, the real-life Linda, the performances of the leads and the filmmaking style. Nothing substantial, but I guess it is better than a bare-bones release.
Is Lovelace Blu-ray Worth BuyingLovelace is never as touching as you’d hope it would be, never as resonant, or as powerful. It lacks a certain impact, when all is said and done, but it does feature Amanda Seyfried front and centre in a strong role which anchors the film, and the unconventional dual-narrative structure allows it to inform audiences in a slightly more subtle, sneaky way, which largely works to its benefit. It’s a tragic tale, to be sure, and an occasionally compelling watch, but not one which mainstream audiences will ever feel compelled to see.
On Region B-locked UK Blu-ray we get solid-but-flawed throwback video, a decent audio track, and just one extra feature. If you enjoyed the movie, I doubt you will come across a better release, but if you’re just curious then this is more rental territory.
Our Review Ethos
To comment on what you've read here, click the Discussion tab and post a reply.