Sunday, May 03, 2015

Sean Kelly

Hot Docs 2015: The Cult of JT LeRoy

cult_of_jt_leroy

The story behind a cult writer is told in The Cult of JT LeRoy.  Teenaged writer JT LeRoy emerged from nowhere in 2002 to become a cult celebrity phenomenon.  Publishing his first book at the age of 19, JT received comparisons to Andy Warhol and attracted a devout celebrity following, which would read from JT’s books at events.  However, it quickly turns out that something is amiss about this mysterious individual.

The Cult of LT LeRoy is a film about celebrity and what someone would do for fame.  JT LeRoy was a highly sellable individual – highly effeminate, HIV positive, and the son of prostitute, JT received praise for his very affecting writing, at a relatively young age.  This propelled the very shy JT, who appeared in public in sunglasses and a blonde wig, to huge superstardom.  However, something also seemed off about his story and The Cult of JT LeRoy slowly reveals the truth surrounding this overnight success.

One thing that I thought while watching The Cult of JT LeRoy is that I’ve seen this type of documentary before.   It’s almost becoming a trope for there to be documentaries about individuals, who are not like they appear.  That’s not to say that I didn’t like The Cult of JT LeRoy, it’s just that it didn’t really shock me when the truth is revealed. The film is framed by a 2007 interview with JT LeRoy’s psychiatrist, which slowly reveals more information about him as the film progresses.  While, The Cult of JT LeRoy is undoubtedly an interesting story, I’ve seen this type of documentary done better.

★ ★ ★ 1/2 | FAIR 

Screenings:

  • Sun, May 3, 2:00 PM – TIFF Bell Lightbox 1

Sean Kelly

About Sean Kelly -

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described ├╝ber-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).