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Joaquin Phoenix Mockumentary: The Disintegration Of Celebrity

So, even though Magnolia Pictures released the film as a documentary and not a mockumentary, Casey Affleck, one of the masterminds behind Joaquin Phoenix’s I’m Still Here (more specifically, the director), came clean last month during a New York Times interview.

In a nutshell: It was all fake.

Boy, aren’t our faces red.

In response, The Frisky writer Ami Angelowicz compiled a list of other fake documentaries, which I thought I’d share with you all for some weekend reading.

But, what I really want to know is: How do you feel about it?

I mean, for a long time a lot of people were genuinely concerned about Joaquin Phoenix. Not just about him, but also for him. Schizophrenia, depression, substance abuse – these were all things people thought Phoenix might be dealing with, and now it turns out he wasn’t dealing with anything. It was all a hoax. (Even though Affleck claims the idea of a “hoax” never crossed his mind, I think it’s a fair word to use.)

Affleck told the Times “he wanted audiences to experience the film’s narrative, about the disintegration of celebrity, without the clutter of preconceived notions” (and by “preconceived notions” I’m assuming Affleck means any hint that the film wasn’t real), but during her intro for the list of fake documentaries, Frisky writer Angelowicz says the movie didn’t allow her that experience:

I sat through the film and literally felt sick about Joaquin’s drug problem and what appeared to be a bout of mental illness. The movie was painful and uncomfortable to watch. So much so that I didn’t have time to ponder the nature of celebrity in our culture. Now I just feel manipulated. I think great performance art is powerful because the audience is a complicit part of the performance. With “I’m Still Here,” I didn’t have the option to be complicit. And that made it insulting, like the cool kids were playing an inside joke on the rest of us dorks.

What do you think? Did you see I’m Still Here? If so, did you get from it what Phoenix and Affleck meant for viewers to get from it? Even if you haven’t seen it, what’s your opinion on it turning out to be fake?

Joaquin Phoenix Mockumentary: The Disintegration Of Celebrity

Alicia Sparks

Alicia Sparks is a freelance writer and editor and the creator of, where she blogs to help new freelance writers get their quills in the pot, so to speak. Among animal rights, music, and physical wellness, her passions include mental health and advocacy. Here at Psych Central she works as Syndication Editor as well as authors Your Body, Your Mind, Unleash Your Creativity, and World of Psychology's weekly "Psychology Around the Net."

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APA Reference
Sparks, A. (2019). Joaquin Phoenix Mockumentary: The Disintegration Of Celebrity. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 2, 2020, from


Last updated: 23 Mar 2019
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