JT LeRoy (2018) Poster


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wrong protagonist
SnoopyStyle23 August 2019
It's 2001 San Francisco. Savannah Knoop (Kristen Stewart) visits her brother Geoffrey Knoop (Jim Sturgess) and his wife Laura (Laura Dern). Laura writes the novel Sarah under the pen name JT LeRoy with a picture from a thrift store. It's a fictional biography of a nameless abused boy whose mother Sarah is a prostitute in West Virginia. Laura has been giving a voice to JT on the phone and now she wants to use Savannah as the physical presentation of the boy. Laura pretends to be JT's British assistant who controls his every move. Eva (Diane Kruger) is a fan taken with the mysterious JT.

I'm getting a little tired of Kristen Stewart's intense reticent. She keeps doing the same moves. Savy is not the most compelling protagonist in this story anyways. This really has to be Laura's story. The only way to place her concluding speech in any context is to show her life. Savy doesn't seem to have agency at the beginning. It doesn't make her that compelling until she starts taking charge of herself. Whenever Eva comments on their phone calls, I keep thinking that the phone calls should be done on camera. Savy is the second or third most interesting character in her own story. It's an interesting story nevertheless.
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The Windmills of your mind
nogodnomasters31 May 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Laura Albert (Laura Dern) is an author who created a fictional autobiography writing under the name of JT LeRoy. JT's mother was a truckstop hooker. Since male customers didn't like boys being around, his mother would dress him up as a girl. Laura lives in San Francisco with Geoff (Jim Sturgess) who writes music for the band "Twist & Scream." Laura does the lyrics. When Geoff's sister Savannah (Kristen Stewart) comes out to live with them, Laura gets the idea of using her to be the face of JT whom no one has ever seen. What starts off as a single photo for a magazine becomes a whole persona for Savannah who becomes addicted to playing the role.

I lived during this era and don't recall any of this...and I watch all the movies about truckstop hookers I can locate. However, I stopped watching E! in the 1990s as well as MTV when they started to play rap. So I could have missed it. Kristen Stewart played a moody person who doesn't show emotion, her typecast...not as good as Snow White when she played dead but close.

Guide: F-word, ex, brief Kristen Stewart nudity.
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Interesting, but not particularly engaging
Gordon-1113 April 2020
The story is interesting, but the film is not particularly engaging. Laura Dern is great in the film, as usual. The rest is pretty bland, and does not leave a lasting impression.
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Surprising What One Can Learn
westsideschl20 June 2019
I knew nothing of this tale, but am aware that literary license allows for all forms of fantastical creations including interesting pseudonyms. Not sure if it's better to look up the history of this true story before or wait 'till after watching. One cannot know all, but it appears to be a somewhat accurate accounting. Great acting. Worth reading the background & then watching again.
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J.T. LeRoy
JoBloTheMovieCritic20 July 2019
5/10 - interesting true story doesn't translate well in this whacky indie
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Another worst biopic! Bored to freaking death! Avoid at all cost!
kwenchow9 September 2019
Warning: Spoilers
This film start with a girl "Savannah" move to her brother "Geoff" house in San Francisco scene! As turnout this film is about Savannah disguise as JT Leroy(A fake name use by her sister in law "Laura" to write a book called "Sarah") to make a movie! Entire film full of scene of drinking, partying, photo shooting session! Bored to freaking death! Even Savannah nudity scene can't save the film! At the end, Laura admit she is JT Leroy and Savannah saying she want move to New York! That's it! Don't waste the freaking time to watch this crap! Really not worth it!
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Never Seems to Gel Into a Powerful Drama
larrys319 August 2019
I watched this film not knowing anything about the books of Laura Albert or the true hoax that she partnered with Savannah Knoop to create. This movie is based on Knoop's memoirs and I thought it was a layered and complex film that never seemed to work the way the filmmakers intended it to.

Laura Dern is, as usual, terrific in her role as Albert. I really like the understated acting of Kristen Stewart, as a rule, but she's just too low-key here and against the overbearing and manipulative character of Dern's it just gets annoying to watch after a while. Kelvin Harrison Jr. shines in a supporting role and Diane Kruger is excellent here as well.

As I read, there's at least 1 doc on this whole affair so I may very well check that out and compare it to the movie. Overall, I can't say exactly why but I felt there was much more to this true story than what was given to us on screen.
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A Real-life Avatar
Blue-Grotto15 November 2018
"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.
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Wasn't great..
ts-000024 May 2021
The overall actors,acting,storyline & cinematography was average.

Didn't know this was based on a true story,regardless doesn't improve the movie.

If you're a fan of any actors in this,worth your time to watch.. Still,perhaps not!
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One Great Actor, One Very Much Not!
davidsask6 May 2019
This was an interesting true story was not aware of until trailer on someone's blog. I knew nothing of it beforehand so that was nice as very much pop culture person. Now back to my review title. Laura Dern is great as in almost every role acted in. Kristen Stewart like most strong opinion not a good actor. If JT was played by different actor I think this would be better movie overall. Kristen is same in every role, enough said! Give it a look see just to know how crazy this true story is! 5/10
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js-6613023 April 2019
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.
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Laura Dern's Performance Can't Save This
stefstars6 August 2021
I didn't know about this story at all untIl I came across this film. It sounded interesting and promising. Unfortunately, it's another case where the film couldn't handle the plot. Laura Dern plays Laura, an author based in San Francisco who has found fame through a supposedly autobiographical novel that she wrote under the name "J. T. Leroy." She fuels the myth of this character by giving phone interviews with a deeper voice and even romancing a European actress/model who I discovered was Asia Argento in real life. It's not until Savannah (Kristen Stewart) moves in with her and her boyfriend (Jim Sturgess) that J. T. Leroy starts to make his public appearances.

Laura finds Savannah to be the perfect androgynous woman to bring her vision of J. T. Leroy to life. Savannah agrees to go along with the charade and soon finds herself hanging out with celebrities, traveling to big cities, and falling for the model that Laura has sweet talked through J. T. All this is based on a true story and believe me when I say this small summary I've typed up is much more interesting than the actual film. I'm not going to bash Kristen Stewart, she actually tried with her performance, I could tell. Sadly, it just fell flat. When she's acting as J. T. Leroy, it's just not convincing that anyone fell for this trick. Although the movie addresses that people questioned if J. T. was actually a female, but the way Stewart brings this character to life, there's just no question. Kristen Stewart's pan face acting did not work for this role, I don't think she was the right casting choice. It could've worked when she was in drag as J. T. but it didn't, she still looks like herself even in the "disguise." Laura Dern, on the other hand, is fantastic (as expected) She's the one who keeps you interested in watching, because without her I would've turned this film off a long time ago, but she kept me watching. Her character is more important than J. T., I mean she created J. T. all this mess is her doing. Sadly, the movie doesn't focus enough on her and just tells thing from Savannah's point of view. Maybe this could've worked if someone else played Savannah, but I think the film would've worked if it followed Laura more to understand why she created this fantasy in the first place.

The script has Laura say lines that basically explain her escapist tendencies. However, I wish it spent time with that instead of showing me what Savannah was doing because Stewart's performance made it seem like she wasn't struggling or anything, just sitting there not reacting to anything. Even when Stewart cries as this character, it's just so emotionless and it really helped drain the film. Add that to this movie's slow pacing, it's a recipe for disaster. This film moves really slow. I kid you not, in the scenes where Laura Dern is missing, I would fall asleep. It took me 3 days to complete this film cos every time Laura Dern was off screen, I would fall asleep and wake up to the film being over. I kept coming back because I was determined to come back to see how the truth is discovered and to see Laura Dern's performance. It's such a shame that her wonderful performance is wasted on this boring, dull film. I'd recommend this film to watch solely for her Dern's performance, but then you'd have to suffer through so many dragging, boring scenes.

Someone on youtube has to upload a video where it's this film but it's only Laura Dern, if it already exists then I suggest you watch that, instead of the actual film. The 3 stars are for Laura Dern's performance and the songs selected for the soundtrack. Skip this film.
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jfh-7232012 May 2019
Laura Dern is always good. Kristen Stewart is awful. Twilight did not require any acting depth, and Stewart has never had any. Even more so, when she tries to do anything but gloomy and brooding.

Movie was uninspiring, and dull
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"It just got out of hand and snowballed, I guess..."
avenuesf17 July 2019
Warning: Spoilers
I've lived in San Francisco for most of my life, and I learned of J.T. Leroy in 2001. He was a celebrated, hyped young writer who seemingly had experienced a life of physical and sexual abuse, had spent time in an adolescent psychiatric unit in the Bay Area, and was a recluse who rarely left his apartment. As a psychiatric nurse who worked in the city's mental health wards, I found his character to be intriguing and a spokesperson for many of the patients I spent time with. But when I finally heard the mysterious J.T. LeRoy speak, something wasn't right; he didn't sound real. He also sounded exactly like an older female putting on a bad imitation of a young boy, with one of the worst attempts at a Southern accent I'd ever heard. Later, when I finally saw a poorly lit black-and-white photo of the character in a cheap blonde wig it was obvious at that point that it clearly was a woman. Not only was the impersonator not even that androgynous looking, but the fact that she kept her head bowed, avoided photos and rarely spoke made it even more obvious. Before long I was reading about huge book advances, Mr. LeRoy taking Europe by storm, movie deals, and even an affair between himself and the actress Asia Argento (with an actual photo spread of the couple in a well-known magazine. Both individuals were only seen in long shots). It was bizarre and a little disturbing... was this some sort of mass hypnosis or performance art the world was participating in and I just wasn't in on it?

"J.T. Leroy" recounts how Savannah (Kristen Stewart) comes to the city to live with her brother and is manipulated by his girlfriend, Laura (Laura Dern), to impersonate a male character she has ghostwritten a novel by in order to gain attention, become famous, and get rich. Both Dern and Stewart are excellent in their roles. Dern portrays Laura as an impulsive, determined sociopath who orchestrates the whole sleazy affair and in the process manipulates everyone around her. She promotes the personality of LeRoy by pretending to be his manager with an exaggerated British accent and wild red wigs. Kristen Stewart plays Savannah as a quiet, passive young woman who can't say no. She goes along with the charade, not quite understanding it at first, then gradually catches on and becomes seduced by the money, the travel, and an actress by the name of Eva (Diane Kruger) who is clearly a recreation of Ms. Argento. (Did AA threaten legal action if they used her real name?) Ms. Kruger plays the role beautifully... she's the perfect match for Savannah, aggressive and passionate on the surface, but cold and opportunistic underneath. There's also an impressive short scene with Courtney Love, who plays a friend of Laura's.

Watching the producers of "J.T. LeRoy" try to sell the scam all over again to audiences under a different guise this time is almost like experiencing the whole sordid mess a second time around. I'm actually reading reviews of this film describing it as an example of "gender fluidity." Seriously? Wow. This was never a case of gender dysphoria and was actually very simple: Laura Albert and Savannah Koop's actions were based solely on deceit, manipulation and greed, and they should have seen some jail time for fraud.

At one point it appears that the filmmakers are attempting to sympathize with Dern's character as she explains that J.T. LeRoy was her alter ego. If that's the truth, she should have presented LeRoy as just that, rather than manipulating Ms. Koop to create a literal human being who didn't exist in order to collect large sums of money and string many, many people along. It's even sadder to believe that Ms. Koop is still profiting from this hoax, as she shares co-writing credit for the screenplay for this film. I'm sure she didn't do it for free.
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A soft and bitter remake of "Victor, Victoria" motif
gphgrm0130 July 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Interesting film, which was probably better in its initial idea, than in its execution. At moments it is really weak, but then towards the end it has some illuminating moments. Laura Dern is brilliant. She is the sole of the film. Still story has some flows that spoil a lot of potential that could be developed into a masterpiece. Namely, the film used the true story about the writer's fraud identity to show a touching story about people's wish to cross over their gender identities and become somebody else. The film exploited the old paradox shown in the famous film "Victor, Victoria", where an actress pretends that she is a man who performs as a woman. This is how she and her friend manage to hide a fact that she is just another, proper but uninteresting female singer and actress. People do suspect that she is a woman, but they are being fooled by the explanation that it is just an act. All these elements are present in JT LEROY story as well, even the fact that whole fraud starts going down when the main pretender falls in love., and can't take the fraud going on. What is different in JT LEroy movie is that the pretender, played by Kristen Stewart, indeed has an issues with her own sexuality, and is clearly struggling with her desire to be a cis man. And of course, unlike "Victor, Victoria", this is not a comedy...

The film has a serious problem with time framing which is bad and confusing, and so many details are badly incorporated in the story. For instance, we have a two minute of a manager played by Courtney Love, who should be an important person in the story, but then the script forgets about her. Also, some elements in the behavior of the European actress, Eva, are not clear, we are not clear whether she knows or cares whether JT is a girl or a boy. It is shown as somehow irrelevant for her, but come one, it can't be irrelevant to that point, that you even don't mention in the movie, especially, when you are intimate with someone. Dianne Kruger is a high class actress, her character is shown in such a way that everybody would fall in love with her, let alone a young shy and insecure queer girl. Pity that Kruger's talent has not been used to picture a slightly different, multilayered type of actress - not just always a screaming, ambitious and shallow diva.

At last, its always difficult to comment on Kristen Stewart, because she has huge ups and downs in her acting, and she is still looking for her chance to show whether she is really good. I mean, she is good, but not all the time, and not in every aspect. It looks she is getting bunch of roles of young, insecure, unremarkable women, and, man, I would not say she is doing very well with it. Give that role to Saoirse Ronan or Chloe Sevigny (15 years) ago, or this new British actress Jodie Comer (Killing Eve show) and you will get an Oscar role. Kristen is not exactly that type of actress, she still has to learn a lot and work on herself a lot. She was not a perfect choice for this role, simply, because she does not really look androgynous at all, in spite her boyish style. Plus, her anemic sick looking face became a convention wherever she plays. Its becoming boring. She is definitely underestimated as an actress, but also overrestimated in terms of her physical abilities, and entire screen persona. For androgynous roles she should work a bit on her looks, stile, appearance, she has to gain some muscles and some manly attitude. For now, she is still unconvincing.
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Perfect Film for a Non-Actor
dianesedmak5 May 2021
Yes, I'm daring to say it. Kirsten Stewart, who can't act, has found her perfect vehicle. All she has to do through the whole movie is keep her head down and her face hidden. And to be honest, even this seems to demanding for her and therefore comes off as very unauthentic.

It's a ridiculous farce of an attempt at a film which, gratefully, no on seems to like. Laura Dern was annoying as usual.
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I had big hopes for that movie.
hogwarts_slytherin10 September 2019
What was that? The storyline was a great idea but they didn't work well with it. Came out slow and boring. Is kristen supposed to fool them that she is a guy? She looks nothing like a boy even when she is dressed as one. 2 stars for Laura Dern who did amazing job. Great actress!
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HereGoHellCome28 April 2019
I love Laura Dern in everything she does, but Kristen Stewart couldn't act her way out of a paper bag. The movie would have been so much better had they given the part to someone with talent.
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I love this movie.
xecapyc8 March 2021
And Kristen Stewart in it. I think she did an excellent job portraying this vulnerable, susceptible & facile character. I love how the camera sticks to her during dialogues & closeups. And the slight coarseness of her otherwise childlike voice is irresistible. Very watchable and moving overall.
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Kristen Stewart Was Good In This Movie.
ayearwood-4302924 June 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Kristen Stewart was very good in her role. This is Savannah Knoop's story and if the real life woman herself gave the blessing for K Stew to play her that all that matters. My only wish from this movie is that the filmmakers went more direct with exposing Asia Argento has the hack she really is, and not resort to creating a parody character. But it is what it is. And as for the people coming on here bashing Kristen, does these people have anything better to do with their lives than question the success of a young woman who is worth money they will never see in their lifetimes? She's not going anywhere. And I think Stewart Bashers are running scared because they know sooner or later, whether it's a Charlie's Angel or Batgirl, K Stew will one day have the role of a lifetime that will prove them wrong. They can't stand the idea of it.
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