Bits, boobs and bushes. These feature A LOT in Michael Winterbottom’s ‘The Look of Love’.
The film follows the life of the King of Soho, Paul Raymond (Steve Coogan), during his years as a strip club proprietor in London’s red-light district. Winterbottom’s latest project explores the development of Raymond’s strip clubs and pornographic empire. It begins in black and white 1958, where the law states that the girls could pose naked on stage but they must remain still, right up until the early 90’s where a certain seedy dominatrix feel takes over the classic beauty of the glamour models.
His story is focused on the three most important women in his life – his wife Jean Raymond (Anna Friel), his lover (Tamsin Egerton) and his beloved daughter, Debbie Raymond (Imogen Pooting). Told in a flashback style, Raymond reflects on the sex, drugs and lavish lifestyle that led up to the death of his daughter.
At the UK premiere in Soho (15.04.2013), Friel told me about how she had to pose naked on screen whilst reenacting a photo shoot her character took part in for Raymond’s pornographic magazine, Men Only.
“I remember when I was posing, I thought wouldn’t it be funny if all the men had to get undressed! But that didn’t happen. If all of the men had to get naked, that would be fabulous,” said Friel.
Anna wore a mustard yellow vintage dress whilst posing next to her co-stars Steve Coogan, 47, and Tamsin Egerton, 24, who play Paul Raymond and his lover, Fiona Richmond.
When I asked Coogan if he could imagine his daughter taking him out to party like Debbie does for Raymond, he replied, “that’s not going to happen!”
The film features a number of celebrity cameos, including Dara Ó Briain, Stephen Fry, David Walliams, Matt Lucas, and Simon Bird.
Needless to say there is nudity. Egerton (St. Trinians) is naked, Friel is naked, Coogan is naked, lots of girls are naked – threesomes, foursomes, fivesomes. Not only do you see the development of porn over a couple of decades, but you also witness the changing fashion of pubic hair, from something quite full and impressive (or offensive depending on how you look at it) in the 50s and 60s, right through to nothing. This film is definitely not for the prude! 3/5
The Look of Love is out in UK cinemas on 26th April 2013.