This film is huge, in every way possible. There really hadn't been a film so explicit and yet so humane to the porn industry, and though this film is a fictionalized portrayal of the seventies porn industry, many characters are actually based on a lot of accounts of past porn actors and actresses of that time period. This film is long in runtime, covers seven years in the life of a porn star, and does not coddle the audience into thinking it's about anything else but the true lives of those involved. There is very little on the actual screen that shows sex scenes, nudity, or remains explicit. Instead we watch the varied and extremely depressing lives of the performers in the "Golden Age of Porn". New to the scene, kid Eddie (Wahlberg) is discovered by legendary producer Jack Horner (Reynolds) at a club, where he works, while doing some dastardly deeds in the back room for a couple bucks here and there. Eddie is newly christened Dirk Diggler, and after meeting a slew of other performers of the time, he begins his reign as the king of porn thanks to an enormous conciliatory prize he gained at birth. He gains fame in the small scope of the porn industry, and finds himself spiraling out of control thanks to a newfound addiction to cocaine in the early eighties. Other characters find their allusions of grandeur to be unclean, including Amber Waves (Moore) as a mother trying to reconnect with her son after her divorce, though she is barred thanks to her profession and addiction. Rollergirl (Graham) finds that her new identity does not necessarily negate her past, Buck Swope (Cheadle) can't escape porn's indelible mark, and Little Bill (Macy) is too jealous and grieved to look past his wife's incomparable promiscuity. Jack is the head of this strange family of pornographers, and as their father, and Amber their mother, keeps them in check and looks after them as they break down time and again. Dirk leaves the fold briefly but remains the prodigal son by the end, commoditized thanks to the seediness of their business and dehumanization that occurs in their work. Director and screenwriter Anderson weaves together these narratives easily enough, and doesn't give away that the opulence that the performers experience won't last long, and doesn't speak negatively about them as people. Anderson only wants to relate the hardships and desensitization of performers and the lasting horror many of them go through after their careers end. The fact that many of their stories are taken from the real accounts of Veronica Hart, John Holmes, and John Dough makes it authentic, but doesn't make the film itself any less legitimate and telling of the industry. Every performance lends to that as well, especially Julianne Moore, who mothers the group of actors but herself is not allowed to mother her own son. Her story as well as everyone else's spans a long period of time, and includes scenes that tell even more about the characters: Buck is involved in an accidental three way murder during a robbery, Dirk Diggler is involved in a botched cocaine deal gone bad, and Rollergirl beats down a former high school classmate on the streets of Los Angeles. This tapestry is so complex and yet understandable, and even in the end, it becomes clear that sex is not love, and onscreen it's diluted of feeling even further. This film does not condemn, only looks to understand and appreciate those afflicted with the judgment of those who don't give any chances after you're tainted by pornography, and in doing so gives understanding to its audience.