15 November 2018 | Raven-1969
A Real-life Avatar
"The truth," said Oscar Wilde "is rarely pure and never simple." This is the case in the true story and stranger than fiction tale of Savannah, a real life avatar for the fictional author JT LeRoy. When JT writes a best seller about his life as a gender mysterious truck stop sex worker, there is intense pressure for the author to reveal himself. Savannah (Kristen Stewart) is convinced by her sister-in-law, the real author, to pose as JT. Savannah does this well, in fact too well. She plays JT for years, falls in love as JT, and the story gets to the Cannes film festival before Savannah is outed as a fraud. But JT is loved for giving people the freedom to be whoever they want and to explore the darker regions of the human experience, and such will never die. Sometimes lies are truer than the truth.
JT LeRoy is fascinating and relevant because everyone, to one extent or another, wears masks and no one is really who they say they are. The film explores how something like JT could happen, primarily with regard to Savannah, and the ramifications for the people involved. Stewart does a wonderful job in the role. Surprisingly, 90% of the film was shot in Winnipeg. Savannah and Justin Kelly attended the same Toronto international film festival showing that I did.