The Look of Love - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Look of Love Reviews

Page 2 of 7
½ May 25, 2014
Despite knowing nothing about the guy, I thought this was a really interesting and enjoyable biopic. The period detail looked spot on and Steve Coogan managed both the comic and tragic tones throughout the film perfectly. I think it is a role that is very well suited to it's lead and probably his best role to date.
½ May 15, 2014
What, no cameo for Rob Brydon?
May 7, 2014
Somehow this story of the rise of Pay Raymond somehow lacks energy and a sense of fun, at least in the beginning. Leaves a bad taste in the mouth, not because it's bad, but because it's about porn and the family that makes it.
April 28, 2014
Director Michael Winterbottom and Steve Coogan reunited for the 4th time after 24 Hour Party People (2002), A Cock and Bull Story (2005) and the TV series The Trip (2010). This time, they took on the life story of one of Britain's most successful businessmen, this is a rags to riches story with the ending from a Shakespeare tragedy, that of a man who paid the price for the fortune he amassed. Paul Raymond (Coogan), was born Geoffrey Quinn in Liverpool, but changed his name when he went into showbusiness. By the late 1950's, he'd become an impresario, known for naughty shows with nude women in them. But a change in the censorship laws in the 1960's meant that Raymond could push the envelope with what he could do in the show. But Raymond is a naughty boy, and he has a relationship with actress Amber St. George (Tamsin Egerton), which ends his marriage to Jean (Anna Friel), but Raymond still plans to leave his empire to his daughter Debbie (Imogen Poots), but she becomes heavily addicted to drugs and drink. It's a dark biopic with the frequent flash of comedy to keep the spirits up, and Coogan relishes in the part of Raymond, showing a troubled figure but a man who was never out of the spotlight. The film has a massive supporting cast of British actors and actresses, and they help to enhance the story of this great man.
April 7, 2014
OK, but not profound or overly interesting. Directed by Michael Winterbottom (director of 9 Songs, among others), with the subject being a owner of nude bars and men's magazines, you'd think this would be quite gritty. Sure, there's heaps of nudity but it all just seems pretty conventional. It's like a step-by-step history lesson, with the history being not that exciting or controversial.

I was thinking this may be like a UK version of The People vs Larry Flynt, but the movie goes nowhere near freedom of expression/speech issues. There is no great moral, societal or political statement in this movie.

The ending was quite emotional though, and that maybe showed more of what the movie was about. But for the ending, there would have been no point to the movie. The ending shifts the movie from the "don't like" to the "marginally do like" category.

Great performance by Steve Coogan in the lead role. He uses all his comedic talents to deliver some great lines of dialogue, not all of which are meant to be funny, but which do give his character a warmth and relatability. Decent supporting cast too.
½ March 28, 2014
The Look of Love is the rather tragic story of British entrepreneur/real estate mogul Paul Raymond who began his career operating some rather staid and stodgy acting theaters before buying up masses of London property and shifting his focus from scripted theatricals to audacious and sensational and (most importantly) money making nude revues! Steve Coogan (Philomena) stars as the one-time devoted family man whose family eventually takes a backseat to his all-night parties and drug-fueled escapades once the money starts rolling in during the Swinging 60's and 70's. Anna Friel ('Pushing Daisies') stars as his long-suffering (ex) wife who tries to keep the family together for the sake of the children even though Paul wants little to do with them until they are old enough to party alongside him. When his daughter Debbie (Imogene Poots - A Late Quartet) comes back into his life, he wastes no time introducing her to his favorite drugs and less-than-honorable friends he has no problem with his daughter knowing. Raymond was called the "King of Soho" because of his extensive property holdings and at the time of his death in 2008 his estate was worth billions. Told mostly in flashback, The Look of Love is a modern day King Midas as Raymond destroys just about everything he comes into contact with ... because of his desire for more. It is one of those tragic stories about one who appears to have everything although he actually has nothing at all. There was little beyond Paul's glitz and glamor.
March 23, 2014
Biopic of the entrepreneur Paul Raymond, the richest man in the UK of his time, he owned loads of real state but he was famous for his Soho shows and his erotic magazines that were borderline pornography. The movie walk us swiftly through his mature years, once he is already a notorious person, we get to see first his marriage to wife Jean, his consented serial cheating with multiple girls until he meets his muse and mistress, Fiona. Divorce and financial success follows, but the last half of the movie tell us of his complex relationship with his daughter Debbie. She tried to follow her father's footsteps into show business but she wasn't talented enough and she kept crashing financially and personally next to the tall shadow of her father, her failures would lead her to drug abuse and eventually to an early grave by overdose.
Interesting biography of a remarkable man, Coogan excels at portraying him; he really looks like the real Paul Raymond. However it is a joint effort of a solid direction and good acting that makes this movie worth watching. It is also the twisted father-daughter relationship, at the end of the day you don't get to see many women sniffing cocaine while they are giving birth, but surely you will never expect her father to provide her with the substance on the spot. The movie also gives a good insight into the show business of the 60's, 70's and 80's, glamour girls and the night life of Soho.
March 20, 2014
This was a dark story full of nudity and promiscuous behavior. I am not sure that it was necessary for me to waste my time in this one.
March 6, 2014
amazing film, Coogan is incredible. hilarious in parts and harrowing in others. a very revealing insight and a one to watch with some great jazz references and snippets.
½ February 23, 2014
An excellent biopic of Paul Raymond's highs and lows. A drug fuelled daughter and a string of girls. Best if British cast in this c4 movie.
February 15, 2014
Well acted but unfocused
February 14, 2014
Coogan is fine and the humour subtle. It just isn't very interesting or entertaining.
February 11, 2014
I'm going through a slightly disturbing love affair with Steve Coogan at the moment, devouring everything Alan Partridge related... so this one is a bit of a curiosity. It's a rarity to see Coogan pulling out an impression of a real life character (unless Partridge actually exists) let alone such a dour character. But such is the watchability of Coogan that a man with absolutely no redeeming qualities is made fascinating. Paul Raymond is a monstrous cad however Coogan's inherent humour, though completely tempered here, brings a humanity to the lead that keeps him from being detestable.

Oh yeah, also... boobs.
½ January 20, 2014
It is telling that biopics of vacuous people often turn out rather vacuous themselves. This is very light and will, in all likelihood, pass without leaving too much of an impact.
January 11, 2014
Cliché of a biopic, unfocused, the film doesn't know if its about Raymond's life or his empire or his relationship with his daughter, it's trying really quickly to cover far too many events in 100 minutes

It's fast for no reason, badly filmed, badly edited, not engaging, you don't feel much when his daughter dies, which should be tragic,

There's a few good ideas of film making, like the photo shoot that looks like Men Only ages with kitschy artwork alas it's really poorly executed

Steve Coogan is insufferable in this film, he's not acting anything else than him, you just ve the feeling of watching a film about him in costume period, shame for the female actress who are all excellent

There's too many dialogues, some of them are good but some are just unnecessary , it just makes the film suffocating and leaves very little space for emotions

You just have the feeling the film was wrapped up in two days, I'm usually a big fan of Winterbottom but I must say I'm clearly unimpressed with this

It's trying hard to be original but it's just another biopic with fast editing and a few breaking walls,

With material like Paul Raymond's fascinating life it's a shame to end up with such a terribly flawed film

It's mildly entertaining but mostly very boring
½ January 6, 2014
There's probably not too much to separate this from the titillation that Paul Raymond used to sell. It's difficult to take seriously as it's too preoccupied with the 'glitz' to do justice to the real drama. Steve Coogan's performance is a curious one. I never saw Raymond in real life but if this 'impersonation' is accurate as some people have said, then Raymond was a lot like Alan Partridge in his mannerisms and the things he said. Anna Friel as his wife and Imogen Poots as his daughter give more intriguing and believable displays but overall this is quite a hollow affair.
December 28, 2013
Doesn't provide any insight into the characters. Stuff happens and that's about it. Really disappointing in comparison to Coogan and Winterbottom's other collaborations.
½ December 11, 2013
When I reviewed Trishna around this time last year, I remarked upon the speed at which Michael Winterbottom works, commenting that he "has better films in him, and makes them quick enough to put this disappointment swiftly behind him." The downside, however, to this pace and efficiency is that he often neglects to go into enough detail about his chosen subject matter. What was a large problem with Trishna is now an even larger one with The Look of Love, which spends more time evading its central character than it does examining him.

I've long complained that biopics which attempt a grand sweep of a person's life almost always come up short. They don't all fail for the same reasons: The Life and Death of Peter Sellers structures its story in a way more suited for television; Gandhi is so overly respectful that it never lets us emotionally connect to the main character; and Shine starts off very well but eventually descends into melodrama. In each case the films are guilty of biting off more than they can chew, hobbled by a surplus of events which leaves them as a pretty, wide horizon rather than a deep, rewarding dive.

The Look of Love is another biopic which suffers from this problem. It attempts to chronicle the life of publisher and club owner Paul Raymond from his humble beginnings on the late-1950s variety circuit to the death of his daughter Debbie in 1992. Covering thirty years of a person's life is a tall order regardless of the person in question, but Winterbottom never seems entirely sure of what he is interested in, or more to the point why he is interested in it.

Films with a sexual subject matter have to be very clear about their intentions towards their audience. Many of the most celebrated films in this vein, such as Boogie Nights, Shame and Eyes Wide Shut, work very hard to turn their audience off, either by showing them some unrelenting underbelly to all the glamour ,or by telling their story in such a clinical manner that titillation becomes impossible. Having negated our most shallow and bestial response, they can then explore ideas surrounding sex and sexuality on a deeper level, whether the objectification of the human body, the destructive power of sex addiction, or the dangers of jealousy.

It is equally possible to make a film which will arouse an audience in more ways than one, provided that said arousal is supported by a discussion of the issues that surround it. One can show a raunchy sex scene and then examine the consequences of that scene without needing to shout down its audience's desires. Ultimately, The Look of Love's approach is a reflection of the clichéd British attitude towards sex. Rather than committing either way, it sits around looking rather awkward and embarrassed, content to have the nudity but averting its gaze whenever difficult questions are asked.

What results from this approach is a film with a great deal of froth and flesh but no depth to it whatsoever. You could call it gratuitous, were it not so frustrating and un-engaging that it couldn't possibly offend anyone even vaguely familiar with the human body. The film seems only interested in capturing the period look and the levels of luxury that Raymond's life reached, rather than asking all the interesting questions about what underpins such a lifestyle. It doesn't have to be scathingly critical in doing so - we just need a sense that there is a point to all this.

Part of the problem with The Look of Love is that it is overly sympathetic towards its central character. Steve Coogan is a far more talented actor than many people give him credit for, and its collaborations with Winterbottom bear that out, whether it's his breathtaking Tony Wilson in 24 Hour Party People or the self-reflexive, postmodern work of The Trip or A Cock and Bull Story. This performance, however, finds both parties leaning heavily on Alan Partridge, painting Paul Raymond as a lovable figure regardless of how seedy he becomes.

It's all very well gives us a central character who makes a living out of sex and doesn't come across as a complete sleazeball. But it becomes a problem when the film is so obsessed with making us like him that it dodges all the darker parts of the industry in which he engages. A typical example comes when a journalist asks Raymond if his magazine Men Only demeans women; Raymond pauses for a few seconds, and then says: "No."

The film makes no real attempt to engage with any of the questions about the morality of what Raymond was doing, or the legal grey areas that surrounded his career; in the latter regard it makes even Mrs. Henderson Presents look gritty and determined. Court cases, divorces, press controversies and long-lost sons are all treated as random things that happen, which come and go like issues of his magazine. It's almost as though the film were being fast-forwarded, so you could follow the movement of a scene but not understand why what was happening was happening.

The film also fails, just as damningly, to justify the darker scenes that do happen later on, involving Debbie's drug problems and the guilt Raymond feels for what happened to her. Even with the clunky wraparound, with Raymond reminiscing about his life while watching video footage, these scenes come out of nowhere and are deeply manipulative. The worst of these involves Raymond doing Debbie a line of coke while she is giving birth to her first child. What could have been disturbing for all the right reasons just comes across as offensive and exploitative.

Without any real substance to speak of, all that remains of The Look of Love is its look. Winterbottom has clearly made an effort to properly recapture the look of Soho through the various time periods, and generally speaking he is successful. He is particularly adept at capturing the flimsy, trashy, tacky look of sex comedies and nude revues, which grew in popularity through the 1960s.

Unfortunately, the action is so insubstantial that it ends up being marked by the changing of costumes, which draws too much attention to them. The film is a very wiggy affair, with characters going through plenty of wigs, teeth and false beards which look opulent in places but very tacky in others. Much like Mr. Nice, Bernard Rose's biopic of drug dealer Howard Marks, it's an ultimately televisual affair, compounded by the appearances of established TV stars like Chris Addison, Matt Lucas and David Walliams.

The Look of Love is a frustratingly frothy affair which makes far too little from a potentially fascinating subject matter. While its attitude towards women or the sex industry is not overtly demeaning or offensive, its refusal to engage maturely with any of the issues surrounding said industry render the whole experience desperately inane. It is in the end as shallow and as empty as the club shows that it depicts, and a low point from a talented director who really can do so much better.
Daniel Mumby
Super Reviewer
½ December 11, 2013
When I reviewed Trishna around this time last year, I remarked upon the speed at which Michael Winterbottom works, commenting that he "has better films in him, and makes them quick enough to put this disappointment swiftly behind him." The downside, however, to this pace and efficiency is that he often neglects to go into enough detail about his chosen subject matter. What was a large problem with Trishna is now an even larger one with The Look of Love, which spends more time evading its central character than it does examining him.

I've long complained that biopics which attempt a grand sweep of a person's life almost always come up short. They don't all fail for the same reasons: The Life and Death of Peter Sellers structures its story in a way more suited for television; Gandhi is so overly respectful that it never lets us emotionally connect to the main character; and Shine starts off very well but eventually descends into melodrama. In each case the films are guilty of biting off more than they can chew, hobbled by a surplus of events which leaves them as a pretty, wide horizon rather than a deep, rewarding dive.

The Look of Love is another biopic which suffers from this problem. It attempts to chronicle the life of publisher and club owner Paul Raymond from his humble beginnings on the late-1950s variety circuit to the death of his daughter Debbie in 1992. Covering thirty years of a person's life is a tall order regardless of the person in question, but Winterbottom never seems entirely sure of what he is interested in, or more to the point why he is interested in it.

Films with a sexual subject matter have to be very clear about their intentions towards their audience. Many of the most celebrated films in this vein, such as Boogie Nights, Shame and Eyes Wide Shut, work very hard to turn their audience off, either by showing them some unrelenting underbelly to all the glamour ,or by telling their story in such a clinical manner that titillation becomes impossible. Having negated our most shallow and bestial response, they can then explore ideas surrounding sex and sexuality on a deeper level, whether the objectification of the human body, the destructive power of sex addiction, or the dangers of jealousy.

It is equally possible to make a film which will arouse an audience in more ways than one, provided that said arousal is supported by a discussion of the issues that surround it. One can show a raunchy sex scene and then examine the consequences of that scene without needing to shout down its audience's desires. Ultimately, The Look of Love's approach is a reflection of the clichéd British attitude towards sex. Rather than committing either way, it sits around looking rather awkward and embarrassed, content to have the nudity but averting its gaze whenever difficult questions are asked.

What results from this approach is a film with a great deal of froth and flesh but no depth to it whatsoever. You could call it gratuitous, were it not so frustrating and un-engaging that it couldn't possibly offend anyone even vaguely familiar with the human body. The film seems only interested in capturing the period look and the levels of luxury that Raymond's life reached, rather than asking all the interesting questions about what underpins such a lifestyle. It doesn't have to be scathingly critical in doing so - we just need a sense that there is a point to all this.

Part of the problem with The Look of Love is that it is overly sympathetic towards its central character. Steve Coogan is a far more talented actor than many people give him credit for, and its collaborations with Winterbottom bear that out, whether it's his breathtaking Tony Wilson in 24 Hour Party People or the self-reflexive, postmodern work of The Trip or A Cock and Bull Story. This performance, however, finds both parties leaning heavily on Alan Partridge, painting Paul Raymond as a lovable figure regardless of how seedy he becomes.

It's all very well gives us a central character who makes a living out of sex and doesn't come across as a complete sleazeball. But it becomes a problem when the film is so obsessed with making us like him that it dodges all the darker parts of the industry in which he engages. A typical example comes when a journalist asks Raymond if his magazine Men Only demeans women; Raymond pauses for a few seconds, and then says: "No."

The film makes no real attempt to engage with any of the questions about the morality of what Raymond was doing, or the legal grey areas that surrounded his career; in the latter regard it makes even Mrs. Henderson Presents look gritty and determined. Court cases, divorces, press controversies and long-lost sons are all treated as random things that happen, which come and go like issues of his magazine. It's almost as though the film were being fast-forwarded, so you could follow the movement of a scene but not understand why what was happening was happening.

The film also fails, just as damningly, to justify the darker scenes that do happen later on, involving Debbie's drug problems and the guilt Raymond feels for what happened to her. Even with the clunky wraparound, with Raymond reminiscing about his life while watching video footage, these scenes come out of nowhere and are deeply manipulative. The worst of these involves Raymond doing Debbie a line of coke while she is giving birth to her first child. What could have been disturbing for all the right reasons just comes across as offensive and exploitative.

Without any real substance to speak of, all that remains of The Look of Love is its look. Winterbottom has clearly made an effort to properly recapture the look of Soho through the various time periods, and generally speaking he is successful. He is particularly adept at capturing the flimsy, trashy, tacky look of sex comedies and nude revues, which grew in popularity through the 1960s.

Unfortunately, the action is so insubstantial that it ends up being marked by the changing of costumes, which draws too much attention to them. The film is a very wiggy affair, with characters going through plenty of wigs, teeth and false beards which look opulent in places but very tacky in others. Much like Mr. Nice, Bernard Rose's biopic of drug dealer Howard Marks, it's an ultimately televisual affair, compounded by the appearances of established TV stars like Chris Addison, Matt Lucas and David Walliams.

The Look of Love is a frustratingly frothy affair which makes far too little from a potentially fascinating subject matter. While its attitude towards women or the sex industry is not overtly demeaning or offensive, its refusal to engage maturely with any of the issues surrounding said industry render the whole experience desperately inane. It is in the end as shallow and as empty as the club shows that it depicts, and a low point from a talented director who really can do so much better.
December 8, 2013
Entertaining biopic, I'm a big fan of Coogan's collaborations with Winterbottom.
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