23 April 2019 | js-66130
Based on a true story that was based on a big fat lie, J.T. LeRoy is first and foremost, a delicious vehicle for thespian wonder Laura Dern, and second, a bit of mishandled mess.
Messes can be good though, and this curious ride delivers the old truth is crazier than fiction roller coaster thrill of thin celebrity skin, and those infatuated with peeling back layers at all costs. A gender fluid teen, Jeremiah Terminator LeRoy was the pen name of Laura Albert. Which would have been fine, and in literary circles, not that uncommon, except that Albert decided to bring her greatest fictional character to life.
J.T. LeRoy, the film, zooms in on the tightening noose Albert has created with her tepid boyfriend's sister - a wonderfully understated, uncomfortable, unnerved, silly wigged Kristen Stewart. As the controlling director of white lie operations, Dern is fabulous as both the manipulative author, and as the uptight handler Speedy she creates to oversee her mystery puppet.
As complicated as all this all sounds, it is much more than that. The role of gender variations is a key underlying theme, and unfortunately, is fumbled. Too bad, cuz there is a pretty good movie here, and one helluva story.