Feuerzeig’s film starts by examining Laura’s difficult upbringing and the life that lead to her literary “hoax de nos jours”. Laura took up creative writing as a form of therapy/ chance to escape, as suggested by her analyst. This lead to the publication of her earlier work in Nerve and Shout NY magazines throughout the 90s, which Laura penned under the pseudonym Jeremiah “Terminator” LeRoy: a personality who emerged during her psychotherapy sessions. Laura followed this with her/ his first novel “Sarah” in 1999, which received huge critical acclaim/ commercial success and catapulted LeRoy into literary stardom.
“JT LeRoy” surfaced as a brave and powerful new voice on the literary scene but, being far too temperamental to partake in the celebrity culture/ public eye, what Laura did next was true creative genius. Questions on the value of identity and authorship in relation to the authenticity of writing and the value of its context, arise during Author while the more serious emotional/ personal conflicts that Laura experiences provide essential humanity amidst the media hullabaloo. Laura imparts dark memories of her troubled childhood with an admirable honesty and tremendous courage while coming to terms with her own identity crisis: “God, let me wake up as a blond haired, blue eyed boy that men would want to fuck” she states.
Laura eventually went on to write for Gus Van Sant (penning the first draft of Elephant), had a relationship with Smashing Pumpkins front man Billy Corgan, worked on Asia Argento’s film “The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things” and employed another of her personalities (Speedie: a Brit punk) to act as LeRoy’s (Savannah Knoop’s) manager and as a way for her to physically participate in the celebrity, public side of his/her career. Author is adorned by a wealth of phone call recordings, stock, news and event footage and new interviews with the avant-garde writer, her friends and associates.
Feuerzeig extrapolates Laura’s peculiar personality which pounds potently throughout but the kooky/ chic visuals, incorporating Wes Anderson style idiosyncrasies and quirky animation, initially feels a tad inappropriate and condescending in the sequences addressing Laura’s troubled childhood. Black and white photography and flickering film footage meld well from the outset and, as the story evolves and becomes more outlandish, Feuerzeig’s more scatty facets click into sync. His visual manners compliment the outlandish parts of Laura’s later life and makes her story flourish on screen.
Author is a compelling and astonishing account of a brave and remarkable life. Its candid glimpses into Laura’s heart provide a raw essence and imperative humanity which helps the film flower into a remarkable and breath-taking depiction, brilliantly brought to life with great passion and flair.