Author: The JT LeRoy Story 3.0 stars

Author: The JT LeRoy Story movie poster

The title of writer-director Jeff Feuerzeig’s documentary is, fittingly, more than a little misleading. Its real subject isn’t the literary wunderkind behind the tellingly titled The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things; nor is it the celebrity culture that rushed to acclaim his fervid, fetid stories of youthful misery. Instead, its real subject is the real author: Laura Albert, a sad and unconfident writer who decided she needed an avatar to express her talents, and so created the titular, gender-fluid, AIDS-afflicted child of a truck-stop hooker, eventually recruiting her sister-in-law to play the role in public. And what a public: the bestselling, barely legal writer hobnobbed and canoodled with rock stars, film directors, and fashion designers, all under the watchful eye of her British manager Speedie (another Albert creation, this one played by Albert herself). And while Feuerzeig makes good visual and narrative use of the world’s adulation and outrage over LeRoy and his eventual outing, all those fireworks are exploded solely to illuminate Albert: a woman who was once so wounded that even her fictions proved too painful to present as her own, now making her peace with herself and her (meticulously recorded) past. 2016.

Matthew Lickona

This movie is not currently in theaters.

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