Published May 06, 2011In 2004, aspiring porn star and Montreal native Lara Roxx contracted the HIV virus after doing a double penetration scene only a few months after arriving in Los Angeles. When the media sensationalized her personal tragedy, Lara instantly got hooked on the negative attention and quickly spiralled down when the hype disappeared and she was immediately forgotten.
Director Mia Donovan never forgot Lara's controversial story and embarked upon the challenging venture of shooting Lara over a five-year period in this compelling and tragic documentary about a troubled girl who was disillusioned to think fame and money would help her escape her internal demons.
The first impression of Lara is negative, as we're introduced to the bipolar, starry-eyed woman in a psychiatric ward in Montreal. From there, the audience is taken on a journey to L.A., where Lara meets up with established porn stars, her mentors and the charismatic Sharon Mitchell, a doctor/former porn star who had broken the horrible news to Lara that she had contracted HIV.
What is so tragic about Lara's trip to L.A. is that despite the fact she thinks getting support and positive attention, all the words of encouragement she receives are from people who simply don't give a damn. One porn star even ends her encouraging speech by sidetracking the conversation to talk about how she has a box of black condoms under her bed for when she's performing when menstruating.
For the first half of the documentary, audience members will find it hard to feel compassion for Lara's plight, as she displays all the signs of an uneducated woman living in denial. However, it's in the documentary's second half where Lara's gripping story starts to unfold. While back in downtown Montreal, Lara struggles with crack addiction, her pseudo-incestuous past with her father, HIV-related tuberculosis and her bipolar disorder, and it's only when Lara is at her lowest that she's able to provide rare moments of stark clarity that hit viewers at the core.
Inside Lara Roxx is a bleak, yet provocative documentary that makes viewers aware of their ruthless moral barometers. Donovan isn't trying to induce sympathy, but rather pointing out that society chooses not to empathize with troubled people who should have known better.