Behind every great pornography star, there's a sexually rambunctious best friend. At least that's what I learned while performing The 5 Minute Test on the 2013 film Lovelace, starring Amanda Seyfried.
Based on the first five minutes of Lovelace, I would continue watching. For those uncertain what a semi-biographical film on the pornographic actress Linda Lovelace has in store for them (like myself), the opening scene lays it out like a high school syllabus.
"So what did you do before you were the first ever pornographic superstar?"
"How does it feel to be the poster girl for the sexual revolution?"
"So tell me, who is the real Linda Lovelace…and did you know that 30 percent of your grade this semester will be based on test scores?"
These questions float inside Amanda Seyfried's head (as a brunette!) as she tensely smokes in a bathtub, the deflated suds in the tub serving as a symbol of her sudsy ascent to celebrity.
Cue some music — Brenton Wood's "Gimme Little Sign" — and cut to the outside of a '70s suburban home in Florida. Suddenly, it's almost like an episode of The Wonder Years is set to begin, only instead of Kevin Arnold and Winnie Cooper, we're briefly shown a statue of the Virgin Mary and an orange tree.
Now, a younger Linda Lovelace is sunbathing with her friend, Patsy, played by Juno Temple (an actress I often confuse with Zoe Kazan, for some reason — can anyone explain this?).
It's clear that Patsy is the Blanche to Linda's Rose, because within a minute, she tries to undo the back of Linda's swimsuit top, calls her a prude, and mimes fellatio — to both Linda's and my disgust. But before she can mime anything more indecent, Linda's mom — Sharon Stone, diner-waitress-y and unrecognizable — catches the tanning and semi-topless ladies.
"Honestly, what is this? A nudist colony?"
The Virgin Mary statue lingering in the back of the shot isn't particularly subtle, so it comes as no surprise that the next scene takes us to a roller-skating rink. (Because what better representation of stifled sexuality is there?)
Linda and Patsy awkwardly stumble around the rink, go-go dance on the stage, and catch the eye of Chuck Traynor (Lovelace's future husband and abusive pimp), played by a scruffy and creeptastic Peter Sarsgaard.
And with the appearance of Richard Nixon's face (!), the 5 Minute Test is up. Quite honestly, I wanted more. I've never been much of a fan of Amanda Seyfried, but this role seems like a solid one to change my mind. Admittedly, the tone and even cinematography of this film poses the threat of resembling a Lifetime original movie, but I think it's a chance well worth taking. And in case you couldn't tell from the photo, Adam Brody makes an appearance. Done and done.
What do you think? Can a movie that so frequently uses the term "deep throat" be taken seriously? Can Amanda Seyfried make it through a movie without breaking into song?
Only time (specifically minutes five and on) will tell.
5 Minute Test Grade: PASS
The 5 Minute Test is a snap judgment, non-scientific evaluation of a film based on its first 300 seconds (roughly). It is not to be confused with the Bechdel Test.
Photo Credit: RADiUS-TWC