By Gregory Crofton
Often even a great documentary can’t be researched enough, well-crafted enough, to answer every question that comes to mind about a subject. But director Marjorie Sturm achieves that very thing in her film THE CULT OF JT LEROY.
Sturm unwinds the mystery of this film as slowly and as brilliantly as JT LeRoy, a 15-year-old transvestite with HIV and penchant for writing, would have herself. Two LeRoy books are published in 1999 — “Sarah” and “The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things” — and before long the lead singer of Third Eye Blind, Stephan Jenkins, and a parade of celebrity writers, actors and musicians come calling.
They each want a piece of Warhol’s Factory circa 2002, and all of them are crucial in helping blow JT’s smoke straight into the atmosphere. It’s a fascinating documentary told by threading together animation, bookstore Q & A video, New York Times photo shoots, celebrity readings at The Strand, key interviews and more.
This movie’s got it all: mystery, entertainment, trickery, embarrassment, genius and a genuinely crazy person.