Author: The JT LeRoy Story
Directed by Jeff Feuerzeig
New York magazine’s October 2005 issue sent shockwaves through the literary world when it unmasked “it boy” wunderkind JT LeRoy, whose tough prose about his sordid childhood had captivated icons and luminaries internationally. It turned out LeRoy didn’t actually exist. He was dreamed up by 40-year-old San Francisco punk rocker and phone sex operator, Laura Albert.
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★★★★ review by Mike D'Angelo on Letterboxd
Second viewing, no change, though until the last five minutes I was ready to declare it my favorite film of the year (just as I was the first time). All that's needed is some tiny means of undermining Albert's authority. Instead, we get pop-psych rationalization (which could easily be a lie) followed by "where is she now?" text that seems to vindicate her, retroactively making the whole film feel a bit gross. Still, it's such an improbably wild ride, supported by such an insane wealth of "evidence," that I gaped my way through it all over again.
Side note: I believe this is the only film I've ever seen that includes footage from an event at which I was present (the Cannes premiere of Heart Is Deceitful). I remember Savannah-as-JT saying "Vive la résistance!" Feuerzeig cheats a little by making it look as if the film played the Palais, though, when it was actually in the Fortnight (which is a completely different location half a mile or so away).
★★★½ review by Jordi Sánchez-Navarro on Letterboxd
Con brillantes recursos de puesta en escena y no pocos ecos de puzzles sobre la metaficción como F for Fake , Author: The JT LeRoy Story es un tratado sobre la creación literaria como psicosis y sobre el autor como construcción social. De paso, es también un who is who de buena parte de la fauna del indie americano de los 90.
★★★★ review by Jeff Stewart on Letterboxd
In the early 2000's, an underground obscure author going only by the name J.T Leroy penned several novels and short stories that garnered wide-spread acclaim, attention, and fixation from readers and other artists like Billy Corbin, Winona Ryder, and Gus Van Sant. "J.T LeRoy" starts to make a lot of big-name friends and becomes an of-the-moment sensation. As time went on questions started to arise about the true authorship of the work. In Author: The JT LeRoy Story, Jeff Feuerzieg expertly peels back the curtain to reveal who really was this J.T Leroy that drew such a dedicated following of fans. Not really an investigative piece, the real author Laura Albert is revealed on-camera from the start to tell her engaging story, but rather an exploration of the world of fame and getting lost in that rabbit hole. In the process, reinventing one's self to match the idea of who you want to be to others.
Another larger question that the film begs to ask is does it actually matter how authors of fiction present themselves? Laura Albert chose a pen name and made up a persona to hide behind for years, but she did craft the stories that gripped an audience. How much is what she did a Hoax? Legally yes there is plenty as is shown towards the end but isn't a relationship to a work our own doing and thus we can only blame ourselves? It's one of many introspective questions that will emerge afterward with this fascinating and probing documentary.
★★★★½ review by rotch on Letterboxd
Me parecería un error entrar a Author: The JT LeRoy Story esperando una denuncia a una gran mentira. Un desenmascaramiento. Lo que hace Jeff Feuerzeig me parece mucho más inteligente. Es un retrato de un artista en donde las líneas que dividen vida y obra se vuelven extremadamente difusas. En ese sentido me parece que es fácil de comparar con algo como Exit Through the Gift Shop. Documentales que saben que la verdad está sobrevalorada.
Si lo anterior no es suficiente, vale la pena lo vean por el puro name dropping. Una película que empieza con Winona Ryder y termina con David Milch (¡con grabaciones telefónicas con casi toda celebridad mencionada!) estarán de acuerdo que *tiene* que verse.
Mi documental favorito del año.
★★★½ review by Jeremy Heilman on Letterboxd
Given the subject matter, this could have been a straight-up masterpiece. It definitely isn't that, but it's so filled with compelling gossip and improbable candor that it managed to feel entirely engaging in spite of my familiarity with the subject. Those phone recordings are an archival goldmine.
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