Movie Review – Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Can You Ever Forgive Me? – Breezy, yet surprisingly downbeat film based on true events about a down on her luck writer who resorts to literary forgeries to make a buck. Melissa McCarthy plays Lee Israel, a celebrity biographer of the 70’s and 80’s, who has found her writings are now out of vogue in the literary world. Recently fired from her nighttime copy editing job, the rent 3 months behind, her cat sick and an alcohol habit, Israel is just about at the end of her rope. After a chance meeting with a fellow down and out writer named Jack (an excellent Richard E. Grant) at the local bar, she gets the idea of forging literary letters from famous early 20th century figures and selling them to memorabilia dealers. Soon, Jack is helping out Lee with her deceptions and the odd couple are making some quick cash, but of course their little scheme is soon being investigated for fraud. McCarthy shows that she can act outside of the goofball comedy she’s known for and gives a solid performance as Israel. It’s no award worthy performance (at least in my opinion), but it’s a performance that shows promise. Don’t be surprised to see McCarthy in more dramatic roles in the future. However, it is veteran English actor Grant who steals the show as Israel’s flamboyant, homosexual skid row drinking buddy. He brings the charm and some moments of levity to a production that is often dour and borderline depressing. On the whole, Can You Ever Forgive Me? is a good little movie; nothing particularly great nor memorable, but passable fare for a rainy afternoon.

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