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The Look of Love

The true story of British adult magazine magnate Paul Raymond

In the opening scene of Michael Winter­bottom’s “The Look of Love,” actor Steve Coogan, playing real-life British nude-revue and men’s magazine entrepreneur Paul Raymond, looks at the camera and welcomes us to his “world of erotica.” Oh, behave. Raymond is essentially the British Hugh Hefner. Following James Bond-like, retro opening titles, we get a neat little biographical portrait of Raymond’s rise and leveling off in Swinging 1960s, ’70s and ’80s London, ending where it begins with a doddering Raymond showing off his London property holdings to his cherubic granddaughter. That this self-avowed hedonist survives the cocaine-addled 1980s is only one testament to his resilience. The same cannot be said for his beloved daughter Debbie (Imogen Poots, putting her natural accent to use for a change), who succumbs to addiction. In addition to being stylish — thanks to montages and period graphics ­— sexy, wanton and ribald, “The Look of Love” is often funny. Raymond, we learn, started out as an entertainer with a mind-reading act. He uses that acuity in his business dealings, becoming Britain’s richest citizen, and almost never makes a mistake, except when he gives in to sentiment and allows Debbie to headline a West End musical. Coogan, who has collaborated with Winter­bottom on “Tristram Shandy,” “24-Hour Party People” and the brilliant 2010 comedy “The Trip,” shows his dramatic range here and is set to appear in a follow-up to “The Trip” entitled “The Trip to Italy.” Screenwriter Matt Greenhalgh also notably penned the under-­appreciated 2009 John Lennon biopic “Nowhere Boy.” Also in this film’s top-flight cast are Anna Friel as Raymond’s first wife, the statuesque Tamsin Egerton, Shirley Henderson and Stephen Fry. Courtesy: James Verniere, The Boston Herald Official Trailer

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Directed by: 
Michael Winterbottom
Running Time: 
Steve Coogan, Anna Friel, Imogen Poots, Tamsin Egerton, Stephen Fry, David Walliams
Screenplay by: 
Matt Greenhaigh

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