Recommendation: 4/5 Stars, SHOWTIME
Plot: When Lee Israel falls out of step with current tastes, she turns her art form to deception. An adaptation of the memoir, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”, the true story of best-selling celebrity biographer Lee Israel.
Review: “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” is flying under the radar and really deserves more attention than it is receiving. Featuring Melissa McCarthy as down on her luck biographer Lee Israel, this is a film about a woman dedicated to her craft but desperate to make it any way she can.
Melissa McCarthy is brilliant in this film and without a doubt worthy of an Oscar nomination. In this role, she makes us believe in a struggling author passionate about unpopular topics. With this love affair, comes exhaustion, disappointment, and an opportunity to survive; all of which McCarthy embodies with near perfection. Her brilliance really begins to shine when doing some research for a book a letter from a literary giant falls from the pages. This original letter garners big bucks on the auction and private collector circuit. This gives Israel an idea and McCarthy a chance to show her range.
You will spend much of the second act of this movie wondering if our recluse will be caught. For their part, the filmmakers do a good job of slowly unwrapping the inevitable. Lee is playing with fire and we all know that she will be burned. As an audience member, we wrestle with the tension of how it will all come crashing down because when it does it is sure to be glorious.
The crash comes in the form of the FBI and a remorseful Lee admitting guilt. Judgment from the court doesn’t necessarily turn out the way one would envision but provides McCarthy an opportunity to deliver the monologue which will lead to her being nominated. It is this scene and what occurs afterward that sealed the deal for me. I think it will do the same for you; which is why I am recommending you see this one in theaters.
Be good to each other.
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