Thursday, March 09, 2006

The critics are [insert adjective here] above all things.....

Just as "The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things" is about to be released, the author of the book has been exposed as a fraud. Not a James Frey/CEO of Radio Shack
"I exaggerated to make myself look better" fraud, but an all-out "this person never really existed and all of the facts are made up" fraud. The book was supposed to have been written by abused child/child prostitute/recovering drug addict/transgendered J.T. Leroy. Touted and befriended by various glitterati like Courtney Love and Lou Reed, the author of books that were lauded for their freshness, frankness, and maturity, it turns out that "Leroy" was the creation of a 40-something woman who handled the writing and phone calls and had her sister-in-law handle the public appearances.

The studio is adopting the attitude that if you can't hide it, make it the reason to buy a ticket.

The movie's tagline is frank, if self-aggrandizing: "Behind the greatest hoax of our time is the heartbreaking story that started it all." The greatest hoax of our time? That's a pretty hotly contested title in this era of imaginary WMDs and the Enron trial.

I almost said that the movie tagline was as grandiose as its imaginary author. It's just about impossible to resist metonymy -- using the fake Leroy story as a symbol for the movie -- or using the movie's title to comment on "Leroy." I'm going to watch and see how the critics try to do that without being too obvious.

First one out of the gate is pretty good. The New Yorker's Anthony Lane
says: "In short, if you think the heart is deceitful, you should meet the author."


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