When I'm Still Here, the documentary that chronicled Joaquin Phoenix's bizarre year-long foray into a rap career, critics seemed alarmed when what they assumed was performance art bordering on hoax appeared not only real, but kind of tragic.
But director Casey Affleck has finally set the record straight. Phoenix was performing the entire time. The documentary is not real:
Mr. Affleck, who is both intense and articulate, said, most important, that he admires Mr. Phoenix for having spent so much time working through a performance that seemed to undercut his public standing. "His performance is compelling, always watchable, manages to be repulsive and charming, believable in all emotions, completely committed, incredibly brave," wrote Mr. Affleck. It must have been "tedious" for Mr. Phoenix, he said. "How difficult to resist the cheap joke, the wink, the nudge." But, he added: "He has the tools for this. He has the goods in spades."
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