Jeremiah Terminator LeRoy (aka J.T. LeRoy)

Biography, Drama, 1 h 48 min

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.


Exploring the blurred lines between Savannah Knoop and J.T. LeRoy

JEREMIAH TERMINATOR LEROY is a feature film from director Justin Kelly and is based on Savannah Knoops biography, Girl Boy Girl: How I Became JT Leroy. The story follows Savannah (Kristen Stewart) as she moves to San Francisco where her brother Geoffrey (Jim Sturgess) lives with his somewhat eccentric girlfriend Laura (Laura Dern). Laura takes Savannah on a wild journey with fictional character J.T. LeRoy including trips to stay with Hollywood stars like Sasha (Courtney Love) and unsuspecting fans such as French actor and director Eva (Diane Kruger).

This film had so many strands and layers to it, the seriousness of hearing Savannah speak solemnly and seriously over a black screen contrasted exquisitely with the comedy genius of Laura Dern as she played the over-the-top and eclectic Laura who has to be given an award for the worst British accent ever in a feature film which quite possibly was inspired by Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins (thankfully on purpose!).

“Nobody gives you permission, you got to take it” Laura to Savannah

There were some amazing lines in the script that were just writing genius and they ranged from comedic to insightful (I’ve shared a few of my favourites in this article in purple) . This film is a story of challenges and rising from nothing; but it is also about a need for attention and not always knowing how to get it. We see insecurities, escapism, passion, self-discovery, manipulation – so much is packed into this film which only covers about 4-5 years.

“It’s like a Chinese finger puzzle, you go in further to get out” Savannah to Laura after she had spent the night with Eva

There is a sombre side to this story as we learn of the hardship that Laura has been through, and the reasons she is eccentric, and has so many characters and accents. However it is intertwined within the story so well that it helps us to ebb and flow through the film beautifully.

“Be in the misery or create our own world” Laura

This film also shows binding, it talks about androgeny and is a positive representation of being bisexual. It is interesting to watch and you do find yourself asking, where does the character J.T. LeRoy end and Savannah begin as she takes on this role. Whilst Laura created the character, and fed it via phone calls and emails; you can’t deny that Savannah breathed life into him.

BFI Flare 20191 logoWe saw this film as part of the 2019 BFI Flare: London LGBTQ+ Film Festival. The festival is running from 21 March to 31 March 2019.

You can find out more about BFI Flare on their website.

You can also check out our go to guide to women's films at BFI Flare.


Watch the trailer

The Techy bit

To find out more about the cast, crew, genre and where you can get this film, check out the LesFlicks Film Database.