The Look of Love (18)

Film

Drama

The Look of Love

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5

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Time Out says

Tue Apr 23 2013

You might not know his name, but if you were a teenage boy any time from the 1970s to the ’90s you may have sweatily fond memories of his magazines – Men Only, Escort and Mayfair. He is Paul Raymond, the man who opened Britain’s first strip club in 1958 – making a fortune in razzle mags and Soho property. In this comedy biopic from Michael Winterbottom, Steve Coogan plays Raymond, who died in 2008, with a hilarious whiff of Alan Partridge: he’s naff, arrogant, narcissistic, a bit pretentious (pronouncing his surname in a vaguely French way, Ray-monde) and kind of irresistible. ‘We’ve got dolphins pulling off girls’ knickers. What’s not to like?’

The script by Matt Greenhalgh (‘Control’, ‘Nowhere Boy’) takes in a big sweep – too big probably – from the 1950s to the early ’90s. We meet Raymond in ’50s Soho, pushing boundaries of taste and decency with nipple-tasselled exotic dancers at his night club (think ‘The Hour’). The tabloid hacks love him. Even his missus (Anna Friel) turns a blind eye to his shagging. When she finally gives him the elbow, Raymond makes his teenage daughter Debbie (Imogen Poots) heir to his empire. The underlying story here is the rise of the porn industry (harder, faster, nastier), fuelled by coke. And it’s Debbie, a failed singer, who’s the casualty in a brilliantly brittle poor-little-rich-girl performance by Poots.  

The film is Coogan’s brainchild, and you can see the appeal, since his comedy creations often look like exaggerated versions of himself.  Like Coogan, Raymond hailed from humble northern roots (born plain Geoffrey Quinn). Coogan intelligently gives the early Raymond a kind of self-consciousness about his working-class background, a fear of exposure – varnished over in later years with a clipped Home Counties accent. Behind the one-liners, it’s an impressive, subtler-than-it looks performance.

Winterbottom and cinematographer Hubert Taczanowski lovingly evoke the look and feel of London through the decades. Still there’s something a bit over-familiar here – in a solidly entertaining, made-for-telly, nothing-we-haven’t-seen-before, way. And given that the last time Coogan and Winterbottom worked together it was on the genius-funny road-trip comedy series ‘The Trip’, you can’t help wishing for something a little sharper.

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Release details

Rated:

18

UK release:

Fri Apr 26, 2013

Duration:

101 mins

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

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2.9 / 5

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Robert

Very disappointed. I was hoping for an intelligently-made film with depth and lots of atmospheric scenes of Londonover the last forty years. This film did not provide any of that. I thought that the film was very shallow and I had a feeling when I came out that I knew little more about Paul Raymond than when I went in - and that was not very much! So a poor film, although one thing it did do, was highlight how good films like "Senna" really are. Verdict: Just about scrapes one star, but only because of the presence of Tamsin Egerton.

Robert

Very disappointed. I was hoping for an intelligently-made film with depth and lots of atmospheric scenes of Londonover the last forty years. This film did not provide any of that. I thought that the film was very shallow and I had a feeling when I came out that I knew little more about Paul Raymond than when I went in - and that was not very much! So a poor film, although one thing it did do, was highlight how good films like "Senna" really are. Verdict: Just about scrapes one star, but only because of the presence of Tamsin Egerton.

long cat

Tedious shallow heap of dogpoo is best way to describe this biopic. I went in expecting a slice of 70s to recent story of flamboyant Soho but instead got an advert for smoking and debauchery. Nothing really happens in this movie so much so by 30 minutes into it eight people had walked ou and by 1 hour there were only half a dozen of us left and four of those were asleep. AVOID unless you wish to pay for a snooze. Verdict - Minus 5 stars

long cat

Tedious shallow heap of dogpoo is best way to describe this biopic. I went in expecting a slice of 70s to recent story of flamboyant Soho but instead got an advert for smoking and debauchery. Nothing really happens in this movie so much so by 30 minutes into it eight people had walked ou and by 1 hour there were only half a dozen of us left and four of those were asleep. AVOID unless you wish to pay for a snooze. Verdict - Minus 5 stars

Ian

An enjoyable enough film but one with huge amounts of nudity and drug taking and as such not for the faint hearted. At its heart is a simple tale, told many time in movies before, of a man who fights to the top only to find that when he gets there it isn't worth it. Trying not to give too much away it is a story of a man who gives everything he can to his daughter, two sons cast aside en route, only to find that as a parent sometimes being your child's best mate isn't generally the best way to health and happiness for either of you. Egerton and Friel look good naked and Poots, who seems to be the only female in the film who doesn't get her kit off, is heartbreakingly good as the naiive vulnerable daughter who is loved and indulged too much. A sad ending to a thought provoking film. Its not an easy watch at times but worth it in the end. Poots performance brings what is a good 3 star film up to just a four star film, for me anyway.

Ian

An enjoyable enough film but one with huge amounts of nudity and drug taking and as such not for the faint hearted. At its heart is a simple tale, told many time in movies before, of a man who fights to the top only to find that when he gets there it isn't worth it. Trying not to give too much away it is a story of a man who gives everything he can to his daughter, two sons cast aside en route, only to find that as a parent sometimes being your child's best mate isn't generally the best way to health and happiness for either of you. Egerton and Friel look good naked and Poots, who seems to be the only female in the film who doesn't get her kit off, is heartbreakingly good as the naiive vulnerable daughter who is loved and indulged too much. A sad ending to a thought provoking film. Its not an easy watch at times but worth it in the end. Poots performance brings what is a good 3 star film up to just a four star film, for me anyway.

Sutton

An enjoyable romp through the late 20th century London. Coogan is amusing with some good lines and Tamsin is stunning.

Sutton

An enjoyable romp through the late 20th century London. Coogan is amusing with some good lines and Tamsin is stunning.