Can You Ever Forgive Me? (NOW PLAYING) starring Melissa McCarthy

[1] A quirky black comedy everyone will enjoy, but still full of emotion and heart.

[2] McCarthy really shines in her role as author Lee Israel and effortlessly portrays the loneliness and insecurity of her character. Her rapport with Grant (and even with the cat) is wonderful, and the writing is clever

[3] The screenplay has a wonderful way of portraying Israel and Jack Hock as criminals, but at the same time making them both very human and very vulnerable, each in their own way. There is a scene between them near the end that tore me up. I hope this film finds the accolades it deserves, it’s great to finally see a gem in a year of remakes, CGI and dull comedies.

-Excerpts form IMDB reviews

Lee Israel (Melissa McCarthy) made her living in the 70’s and 80’s writing biographies of the famous (Katharine Hepburn, Tallulah Bankhead, Estee Lauder, etc.) With bills mounting, and facing loss income, she begins drinking heavily and sinking into a deep depression when (by chance) she discovers that a lot of money can be made by selling letters of the famous (such as Dorothy Parker and Noel Coward). Lee is assisted by her flamboyant/energetic friend, Jack Hock (British actor Richard E. Grant). Jane Curtin has a cameo as Lee’s literary agent. 

This is an adaptation of the memoir Can You Ever Forgive Me? by Israel herself. McCarthy’s husband, Ben Falcone, was attached to the project before she was; he recommended her when Julianne Moore backed out. I got a chance to see this little gem of a film (at a free press screening) 3 weeks ago. I think it will appeal to indie fans, esp. teachers, librarians, classic film buffs, and those who write for a career (or even for fun). McCarthy wears (terribly cut/styled) wigs, frumpy clothes, and takes on a difficult/hard-edged personality. She seems to almost disappear into the role! This is the type of (unlikable) role usually written for a male protagonist. This film is playing (in limited release), so check it out if you can, or put it on your list for future streaming.

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