J.T LeRoy (2019)
Biographical drama movie J.T LeRoy is so crazy that you almost can’t believe it’s true. But it is.
Here’s the deal: Savannah Knoop (Kristen Stewart) is convinced by her sister-in-law, Laura Albert (Laura Dern), to pretend to be J.T LeRoy, the character Laura created in her novels that she’s passed off as true life stories written by a young man who came from a squalid background of drugs, prostitution and abuse. J.T is, of course, male, so androgynous Savannah assumes a weird disguise and attends events and meets numerous celebs, all with Laura tagging along for kicks.
As the years pass, both women as well as Savannah’s brother, become deeper entrenched in the lies, as the whole world goes crazy for this supposedly brilliant and mysterious young man.
Laura Dern and Kristen Stewart are both brilliant in their roles as the women at the heart of the hoax. In real life, big stars including Winona Ryder, Tom Waits and Courtney Love were all duped by J.T and counted him among their friends – Courtney gamely appears in a cameo role in the movie.
There’s a lot of sexual content and gender identity confrontation, so it’s definitely not one for kids. It’s also not a typical Hollywood blockbuster – you’ll love this if your taste leans more towards arthouse and indie cinema.
“The true story this biopic is based on has seamy tabloid appeal, but the movie digs deeper to show how two troubled people temporarily found solutions to their problems through their ruse,” reviews movie critic Joyce Slaton at commonsensemedia.org.