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Stars: Amanda Seyfried, Peter Sarsgaard, Hank Azaria, Wes Bentley, Adam Brody, Bobby Cannavale, James Franco, Debi Mazar, Chris Noth, Robert Patrick, Eric Roberts, Chloe Sevigny, Sharon Stone, Juno Temple

Director: Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman

Once upon a time when the Internet was simply a science fiction fantasy, movies were the source of porn.

The most notorious porn film of all was the no-holds-barred fellatio opus Deep Throat which was shot in six days for $25,000 and, reportedly, earned some $300,000,000 to $600,000,000 profit. Which almost certainly makes it the most profitable made-in-America movie ever. Its star, Linda Lovelace, reportedly earned $1250 for her notoriety.

This riveting biopic, whose screenplay by Andy Bellin, based on Lovelace’s best-selling biography Ordeal which she wrote under her real name Linda Boreman, imanages to avoid sensationalism for the sake of sensationalism. Instead, directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman tell their story straightforwardly which serves to make it all the more impactful.

The unlikely casting of Amanda Seyfried who, light-years away from the bland Mamma Mia!, gives the performance of her career in the title role, comes off. (I found myself being even more chilled watching her ordeal than I had been seeing Colin Firth dancing in blue in Mamma Mia!).

First seen as a teenager living with her stern religious mother (Sharon Stone, unrecognizable and excellent), Linda has the misfortune to fall under the spell of topless bar owner and sadistic hustler Peter Sarsgaard and marries him.

Forced to audition for pornfilm maker Hank Azaria (eat your heart out, Ned Flanders!) Linda makes Deep Throat and the rest is notoriety – until she ended up as a spokesperson for sexual freedom.

Interestingly Epstein and Friedman then tell her story again, from another point of view, this time showing the making of Deep Throat in an even more nightmarish manner.

Sarsgaard is genuinely terrifying and Stone surprises. James Franco turns up, somewhat surprisingly, as ‘Playboy’ supremo Hugh Hefner and other somewhat unlikely cast members include British actress Juno Temple and Eric Roberts. But its most memorable appearance is by Seyfried. If there’s ever a Mamma Mia 2!, she deserves to be spared.

Alan Frank

USA 2013. UK Distributor: Lonsgate. Colour.
93 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 18.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 3, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 2, Swearing 3.

Review date: 02 Sep 2013