The poster for the upcoming “Lovelace” doesn’t augur well for the upcoming independent biopic of the “Deep Throat” star Linda Lovelace being a serious inquisition into the 1970s porn industry, or of the despoliation and exploitation of the young woman who became Lovelace.
That’s not to say Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s film won’t tackle Linda Boreman’s tragic life sensitively and intelligently. It’s just that the poster suggests feminist outrage isn’t the guiding spirit, even though Sarah Jessica Parker, who plays Gloria Steinem, a champion of Boreman during her years as an anti-porn activist, will presumably introduce that element in the movie.
Amanda Seyfried, who plays Bowman/Lovelace, is shown in a traditionally alluring pose with her head angled at the camera, eyes come-hithery, a hint of cleavage, and her red lace bra strap and lace shawl falling off her bare shoulder. Light bounces off her brunette tangle, as if her halo slipped. Most egregiously, given the subject matter of “Deep Throat,” her plump pink lips are parted, though mercifully not in an “O.” The tagline “X marks the legend” is not reassuring.
It is your basic sexist movie ad, and there are have been far worse, but surely in this day and age a movie about the experiences of such a brutalized woman as Boreman daren’t suggest it can be be sexy and amusing?
A frankly unsmiling closeup, without the trimmings of brothelly underwear, would have been more dignified, albeit less appealing to Maxim readers and their demographic. A blogger at cinemablend.com interestingly speculates, “Beyond the sexy look of Seyfried's pose, we could read further into it and suggest that she doesn't look entirely happy there.”
Understandably, perhaps, Epstein and Freedman want to maximize the black comedy of Boreman’s participation in pornographic films that showcased her skills, and her later reaction to that chapter of her life. “You’re along with her psychology at the different stages of her life,” Epstein told the New York Times in February “and when she’s ready to look at her life differently, we’re ready to tell the story differently.”
“Her story bridges the period from the sexual revolution to feminism, and she was a key figure in both of those moments,” Friedman told the Times’s Dave Itzkoff.
Naturally, though, when it comes to selling movies, the sexual revolution, as represented by Seyfried in the poster, beats out feminism every time.