Author: The JT LeRoy Story is a captivating, suspenseful, ironic, and emotional documentary, told almost exclusively from the perspective of Laura Albert, the writer who invented the persona of JT LeRoy, an androgynous HIV-positive teenage boy, and published his autobiographical stories (though dubbed fiction), which went on to draw plaudits from celebrities like Tom Waits, Matthew Modine, Bono, Winona Ryder, Courtney Love, Gus Van Sant, Michael Pitt, Asia Argento, and Billy Corgan. Author sheds light on two phenomena. One is how writing and fiction allows artists to transmute their pain; Laura Albert grew up overweight and was bullied and molested. The second is how there is a hunger in the culture for unique, oppressed, victimized voices. The documentary, directed by Jeff Feuerzeig, uses archival footage and photographs, animation, audio recordings of conversations (taped unbeknownst to the person on the other end of the line), and a few talking heads other than Laura Albert to tell the story. It would, of course, have been fascinating to hear from Laura Albert’s boyfriend, Geoff, or Geoff’s sister Savannah, who impersonated JT when JT had to make public appearances, like book readings. Indeed, a caper like this could be expanded into a multi-part doc, or it could work as a limited miniseries or as a feature, which is currently being developed. We look forward to it.
By Alec Julian & Carrie White