There are two sides to every story, and both are told here, one before and one after a polygraph, in the poignant but flawed film based on the real life of Linda Marchiano called "Lovelace."
In 1972, 21-year-old Linda (vulnerable work by Amanda Seyfried) and her abusive husband Chuck Traynor (appropriately creepy Peter Sarsgaard) brought pornography into the mainstream (dubbed "porno chic"), breaking box office records and making the film's title, "Deep Throat," into ubiquitous shorthand for oral sex.
Written and directed by Gerard Damiano (played by Hank Azaria, sporting a ferret-shaped toupee, alongside additional '70s sleazeball characters by Bobby Canavale and Chris Noth), the 60-minute hard-core script, which actually contained a plot and some comedy (using fireworks to portray explosive orgasms and the like), completely denigrated Linda (who was given the supposedly "real" last name of Lovelace) by placing her clitoris in her throat. The only way the character could have orgasms was by satisfying men with blow jobs.
Linda's memoir "Ordeal" recounts how she was coerced into the film, as well as pimped out by Traynor, who forced her to have sex with everybody from Hugh Hefner (a drab James Franco) to drunken businessmen. She testified before the Meese Commission in 1986, saying "every time someone watches that movie, they're watching me being raped."
Linda was paid only $1250 for her 17 days in the industry, and "Lovelace" reports that "Deep Throat" went on to gross up to $600 million. Seemingly, the only person who was kind to her during this time was her Florida friend Patsy (played with compassion by Juno Temple).
Documentary directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman bring a nonfiction feel to this piece, interspersing real clips from entertainers such as Johnny Carson and Bob Hope, which show that Linda became a national punch line, as well as her appearance on the "Phil Donahue Show" following her memoir and her speaking out against porn and domestic violence.
Linda was remarried with a child when she died due to injuries from a car accident in 2002 at the age of 53. Traynor, who remarried Marilyn Chambers, the second most famous porn star of the time, died three months later from a heart attack.
The one bonus feature on the DVD is awkwardly-named "Behind 'Lovelace.' "