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J.T. LeRoy

BASED ON THE INCREDIBLE TRUE LIE

A young woman named Savannah Knoop spends six years pretending to be a transgender writer named JT Leroy, the made-up literary persona of her sister-in-law.

"Who doesn’t love a good imposter story? From the 1983 Gérard Depardieu drama “The Return of Martin Guerre” to Melissa McCarthy’s “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” to the Elizabeth Holmes saga of the HBO documentary “The Inventor,” identity charlatans have always been juicy subject matter.

The JT LeRoy literary hoax was one for the ages: In the late ’90s and early aughts, two women collectively masqueraded as an author whose grimly poetic descriptions of abuse and prostitution made “him” a darling of celebs, such as Winona Ryder and Courtney Love (the latter gamely pops in for a cameo).  “JT LeRoy” is based on a book by Savannah Knoop, the face of JT for six years before a journalist outed her. Knoop is played by Kristen Stewart, whose perma-slump and mumbled speech are well-suited to JT’s bizarre, be-wigged public appearances.

Laura Dern is manically magnetic as the author Laura Albert, who voiced JT on the phone, penned the novels and adopted the Svengali-like persona of LeRoy’s British agent in-person. Jim Sturgess, as Albert’s partner and Knoop’s brother, mostly stays on the sidelines as director Justin Kelly (“King Cobra”) focuses on a tangled trio of ambitious, duplicitous women. Diane Kruger plays the third, a filmmaker loosely based on Asia Argento, director of an adaptation of one of LeRoy’s books. At a certain point, the pattern of Knoop’s reticence, then acquiescence to Albert’s masquerade becomes slightly repetitive, but “JT LeRoy” still gives a compelling inside look at the head-scratching hoax that succeeded, in part, due to musty notions of what a hot shot writer ought to look like." - New York Post

Directed by: 
Justin Kelly
Running Time: 
108m
Country(ies): 
UK, USA, Canada
Year: 
2019
Language: 
English, French
Starring: 
Kristen Stewart, Laura Dern, Jim Sturgess
Rated: 
14A

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