Based on Lee Israel’s (sorry Lee, I couldn’t find a credible link to associate with your name but I found articles about you which will be listed at the end of the post) autobiographical Can You Ever Forgive Me?: Memoirs of a Literary Forger (2008), directed by Marielle Heller, starring Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me? tells the story of how Israel went from a has-been author, writing books no one w
McCarthy does an outstanding job playing this bitter, depressed, alcoholic, washed up, nasty (in more ways than one), middle-aged, has-been with such a bad attitude no one, and I mean no one, wants to work with her. And she has an even nastier apartment (don’t look under the bed for crying out loud!) in which the true state of her depression is manifested and revealed in a painful, true-to-life way. Her bitterness has contaminated every relationship in her life. She’s run out of friends who can tolerate her; that is, until she meets an equally sour-on-the-world, sleazy, social outcast (enter Grant’s character), with whom she can wallow in self-loathing.
The audience gets to witness McCarthy as this terribly sour, dark, unlikable person with not much going for her in life, to a woman who discovers something to be passionate about again, and who you learn to understand. The character development is brilliant. (Kudos to Nicole Holofcener and Jeffrey Whitty, who also deserved some award season love because they really made this story come to life.) McCarthy’s character becomes vibrant and energized and purposeful – almost, dare I say, happy; or as close to “happy” as misery will allow. Her actions may not have been legal but she got something priceless out of it. In her middle age, she rediscovered herself, her self-worth and her passion. It’s something we all need to do as we get older.
Can You Ever Forgive Me is quite a dark, queer, quirky story, with dark, queer, quirky main characters, and it is original, interesting, well-acted, well written, and well executed all the way around.
Oh! And I failed to mention that Richard E. Grant’s performance is brilliant, as usual. He is detestable! He’s a seasoned veteran who knows his craft. It’s almost scary how much he gets into this character and makes it look convincing and effortless. (I know I’m all over the place with this post but I’m trying to get it done before the show. Can you ever forgive me?)
I’m so glad Melissa listened to me. (Hahahahaha!!! Wheeew! I crack myself up when I imagine any of these people knowing who the hell I am.) To toot my own horn (Yeah. I’m gonna toot it!), when I suggested she try some drama to pull out of the catastrophe that was The Happy Time Murders (my review in the link where I said it, without even knowing Can You Ever Forgive Me even existed btw…). I knew she was capable of so much more. I believed in her and I’ll be darned if she didn’t deliver. Now, I want to see her play a real villain in some capacity, somewhere, like a villainous Craig T. Nelson or a John Lithgow role. (Melissa…, if you can hear me, do it. Go play in your craft and let no one box you in!)
I feel strongly that Melissa McCarthy is the dark horse for an Oscar win for this role. I know Glen Close has put in her time and Gaga is the sweetheart, but if we’re talking about awarding folks based on a single performance, I’m foolishly pulling for Melissa because she really stretched herself and gave us something new we’ve not seen before from her. Such is not the case with Glen or Gaga. (Even though I know I’m going to get my heart broken. Not that Glen wouldn’t be a great pick because she did an outstanding job as well. All the ladies nominated did fine jobs. It’s a tight race.
This is my last blog about a movie before the Oscars. I rated 2 movies 10 bloops this year. One was The Hate You Give (which I knew wasn’t going to get any Oscar love when I saw it), the other was Won’t You Be My Neighbor, and we won’t even discuss the b.s. snub Won’t You Be My Neighbor got so RBG can win this award… Honestly, this was not the best season for cinema, particularly in comparison to 2016, 2017 and 2018. But it’s over now. Let’s see how these awards go down.
Will You Ever Forgive Me earned 9 out of 10 bloops with Melissa McCarthy’s performance earning 10 out of 10!!!!!! It is an excellent, albeit dark, movie. The picture of what depression and loneliness looks like is so real and so timely, it’s sort of amazing.
The True Story Of Lee Israel: The Biographer Who Turned Into A Literary Forger
Lee Israel, a Writer Proudest of Her Literary Forgeries, Dies at 75
The True Story of Lee Israel and the Literary Forgeries in Can You Ever Forgive Me?
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1 = worst ever, avoid at all cost
2 = very bad, forget about it!
3 = poor movie, not recommended
4 = not good, even for free – NO!
5 = so-so, worth it if you don’t have to pay
6 = not bad, could have been better
7 = good movie, worth seeing
8 = great movie, don’t miss it!
9 = excellent movie, a must see!
10 = a masterpiece, go see it now!
Other Reviews (Please excuse the look of this section. It is a work in progress.)
If Beale Street Could Talk
What Men Want
Eighth Grade Vice Roma
Mary Queen of Scots Widows The Favourite
Green Book Halloween Nobody’s Fool
Bohemian Rhapsody Beautiful Boy The Hate U Give
First Man Assassination Nation The Oath
A Star is Born The House with a Clock in Its Walls A Simple Favor
The Predator BlackkKlansman Support the Girls
Peppermint Christopher Robin Crazy Rich Asians
The Happytime Murders RBG Won’t You Be My Neighbor
Sorry to Bother You
You Were Never Really Here
Rampage A Quiet Place Ready Player One
A Wrinkle in Time Lady Bird I, Tonya
The Florida Project Black Panther Molly’s Game
The Post Phantom Thread Den of Thieves
All the Money in the World Coco The Greatest Showman
The Disaster Artist Call Me By Your Name
Victoria and Abdul Thor: Ragnarok Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Mother! It Good Time
Atomic Blonde Dunkirk Girls Trip
Spider-Man: Homecoming The Big Sick Baby Driver
All Eyez on Me It Comes at Night The Wedding Plan
Wonder Woman Everything, everything King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
Raw Kong: Skull Island Logan
The Girl with All the Gifts A Cure for Wellness Get Out
Hidden Figures Fences Moonlight
Hell or High Water Loving La La Land
Lion Manchester by the Sea Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge Nocturnal Animals Captain Fantastic
Elle Jackie I Am Not Your Negro