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I was one of the people, who, from the get-go, never once thought that Joaquin Phoenix was truthfully having any sort of "mental breakdown" in the past couple of years. I grew up loving Andy Kaufman, and it just seemed like something that Andy Kaufman would do.
When I heard that he was making a "documentary," it left no doubt in my mind. Of course this was a character, now. There's no way anyone would be going through this type of evolution (destruction?) in personality and character and want to document it for the world to see. Unless, of course, it was fake.
And therefore, it would be a mockumentary. And that's what Joaquin Phoenix has stated, after all - that it's nothing more than a social commentary on the decadence involved in fame, the destruction it can provoke in individuals.
I gave it a shot, and after all I've seen and experienced, I have to say that I'm seriously not sure anymore. I mean, I know and understand Phoenix has said he was "pretending," but some of the stuff in the movie just seems too real. Apparently, Roger Ebert thinks the same way I do about the movie.
The documentary/mockumentary is incredibly raunchy, either way. If you have the stomach for it, and/or are just simply curious, it's an incredibly interesting film, to say the least. If it's real, it's amazing to see the dramatics behind the scenes of the film industry's righteous. If it's fake, it's amazing to see the extent Phoenix went to preserve his "character" for so long (and in so many disdainful situations).
I think I'll believe he was faking everything the moment he starts working again. Until then, I'll just assume he's still in the horribly depressed and dysfunctional state he was in this film.