JT LeRoy (2018) Movie Review

Director: Justin Kelly

Writer: Justin Kelly, Savannah Knoop (Screenplay)

Starring: Kristen Stewart, Laura Dern, Jim Sturgess, Diane Kruger, Kelvin Harrison Jr, James Jagger

Plot: A young woman named Savannah Knoop spends six years pretending to be the celebrated author JT LeRoy, the made-up literary persona of her sister-in-law.


Tagline – Based on the incredible true lie

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Quirky

Story: JT LeRoy starts when Savannah (Stewart) moves to San Francisco to move in with her brother Geoff (Sturgess) and his partner Laura (Dern), the couple have a band, with Laura having her own book written by her alter ego JT LeRoy, with the book starting to get a bigger following.

Laura wants to make more for JT, which sees her turn to Savannah to dress up in public for photoshoots before getting more involved with social occasion, right up to a movie being made about him, with Savannah struggling with the extra attentions of being somebody else.

Thoughts on JT LeRoy

Characters – Savannah moves to San Francisco to start a new life, with her brother giving her a place to start, she just wants a normal life there, but this doesn’t happen, when she gets talking into pretending to being the secret author of her sisters-in-law’s book, a man that the world wants to meet. She does struggle with this, but does enjoy the bigger social experience becoming more confident as the fake author. Laura is the real author that created a persona to be the real author, she has been the voice before for interviews, but never the person, pushing Savannah into become the author for her. Geoff is the brother to Savannah who offers her a place to live and introduces the two, he doesn’t want Savannah to feel pressure into doing anything she doesn’t want too. Eva is the celebrity that wants to meet JT, she host parties and gets closer to her.

PerformancesKristen Stewart is great in this leading role, she shows the confliction her character is caught up in during the film. Laura Dern shows us just how desperate for fame some people will be in life, while the rest of the cast do nothing wrong through the film, working well with the main two members of the cast.

StoryThe story here follows a young woman that gets talked into becoming a version of an author her sister-in-law created and how the world starts to spiral out of control. This does show us all about trying to make the most out of life, giving the audience what they want with the illusion of what they want in life to give them the happiness they need. Outside of the world the characters are trying to find their own identity in life, which is always good to see learning about one’s identity.

BiopicThe biopic shows how Savannah thought she was walking into one life, only to have the whole thing turned on its head for her, showing how she was stuck in the middle of helping people and being herself.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show us different party environments that Savannah ends up attending, it shows us how her life was different and each trip was something new for her.


Scene of the Movie – The reading.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Laura is a mostly annoying character, not down to the performance though.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting look at how celebrity is created, how people will want their own versions of people no matter what the truth is.

Overall: Celebrity Illusions.

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