Can You Ever Forgive Me?

canyoueverCan You Ever Forgive Me? (Marielle Heller, 2018)

Melissa McCarthy, Richard E. Grant, Dolly Wells

When Lee Israel falls out of step with current tastes, she turns her art form to deception.

Based on the true story of an alcoholic fraud who manufactured fake letters supposedly written by celebs - like Dorothy Parker, who provides the film's title - this is a charming little amusement, mainly because the actress is charming, and it has Richard E. Grant being convincingly gay. But it's morally bankrupt, as the ending makes explicit.

Peter Debruge writes in Variety that "it takes an actress as delightful as [Melissa McCarthy] to make such a woman not just forgivable but downright lovable"; however, as to how the film was promoted he concludes that "one gets the impression that Fox Searchlight is trying to hide (or at least downplay) the homosexual side of this story: Lee was a lesbian, while the openly gay Jack can hardly pass a fire hydrant without asking for its phone number." Film Journal International said McCarthy's performance was "stunning" and her previous film roles "could not anticipate how fearlessly and credibly she inhabits Lee Israel." Eric Kohn of IndieWire writes that the film is a "charming melancholic comedy" where "Heller channels the dark urban milieu of vintage Woody Allen", and in which McCarthy's performance "elevates the material at every opportunity."

Debruge, Peter (September 2, 2018). "Film Review: Melissa McCarthy in 'Can You Ever Forgive Me?'". Variety.
Horwitz, Simi (October 17, 2018). "Film Review: Can You Ever Forgive Me?". Film Journal International.
Kohn, Eric (September 1, 2018). "Can You Ever Forgive Me?' Review: Melissa McCarthy Gives Her Best Performance as a Forger Who Dreams of Fame - Telluride". IndieWire.

Garry Gillard | reviews | New: 20 February, 2019 | Now: 20 February, 2019