• Mary's


By Mary Cox


“Can you ever forgive me?” is the true story of author Lee Israel. Academy Award nominee Melissa McCarthy stars as Israel.

Israel wrote autobiographies of famous women. But by the 1990’s the market for those had dried up and her abrasive alcoholic personality turned most people off, including her agent, (Jane Curtin.) Jobless, broke and unable to pay her bills, Israel is desperate for money.

Befriended by a fellow alcoholic, Jack, (Richard Grant), Israel starts forging letters by famous celebrities after she finds a letter from Fanny Brice in a library book and is able to sell it for $175. Eventually, her crimes are discovered.

McCarthy shines in this somewhat depressing movie about a woman on the edge. Even though her character is not very likable, you tend to feel sorry for her plight made real by the excellent script. Grant’s performance is also terrific. McCarthy and Grant really play off of each other very cleverly. Their dialogue in the bar when they meet is an excellent use of dialogue by writers Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty.

You won’t recognize McCarthy without make-up in plain clothes. This is the type of role I have wanted to see McCarthy take on for a long time. I have been a fan since she performed as Sukie in “The Gilmore Girls.” She shows her acting chops in this film after starring in a multitude of vulgar cookie-cutter comedies.

Director Marielle Heller brings out the best in her actors.

I liked this movie but it won’t be for everyone. The f-bomb is used frequently but in this movie, it really establishes the character of both Israel and Jack.

“Can You Ever Forgive Me” is worth the drive to the Chase Park Plaza or Plaza Frontenac to catch this film but leave the kids at home.


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