Independent Spirit, Satellite, NY Film Critics:
Best supporting actor
Bitchy, misunderstood, emotionally lost, unworthy, dedicated, tenacious, deluded. And that is just the female lead.
Lee, played with unerring wit and ferocious verve by Melissa McCarthy, turns out to be terrific company.
Wall Street Journal
Ultimately this is a film about human frailties.
Lee Israel was a best-selling celebrity biographer (and cat lover) who made her living in the 1970’s and 80’s profiling the likes of Katharine Hepburn, Tallulah Bankhead, Estée Lauder and journalist Dorothy Kilgallen. Now she’s a frustrated, hard-drinking author who can barely afford to pay her rent or bills in 1990s New York, because she had fallen out of step with the marketplace. Desperate for money, Israel soon hatches a scheme to turn her art form to deception and forge letters by famous writers and sell them to bookstores and collectors. When the dealers start to catch on, Lee recruits her loyal friend Jack to help her continue her self-destructive cycle of trickery and deceit.
With complicated characters and great performances, Can You Ever Forgive Me? is a solid drama based on true events that is a portrait of loneliness and isolation. It’s great to see actors in scenes together where lots of things are unspoken. McCarthy and Grant are delightful and their scenes are the highlight of the film.
USA 2018, 102 min, rated M (offensive language, sexual references & drug use)
Directed by Marielle Heller
Starring Melissa McCarthy, Richard E. Grant, Jane Curtin, Dolly Wells, Ben Falcone & Stephen Spinella