(2018) 106 mins
Lee Israel is a frustrated, hard-drinking author who can barely afford to pay her rent or bills in 1990s New York. Desperate for money, Israel soon hatches a scheme to forge letters by famous writers and sell them to bookstores and collectors. When the dealers start to catch on, Lee recruits a dubious friend to help her continue her self-destructive cycle of trickery and deceit.
Can You Ever Forgive Me? has Oscar nominated performances from Melissa McCarthy (as Israel) and Richard E. Grant (as Jack Hock). Richard E Grant gives his most ebullient performance since Withnail and I as the sclerotic yet still artful dodger, Jack. And McCarthy plays Lee with an emotional complexity that you rarely find in her regular comedy vehicles.
The Guardian: "It is a brilliant performance by McCarthy, and Richard E Grant gives us something bleakly hilarious as her lounge-lizard drinking buddy and co-dependent loser, Jack Hock." (5 stars)
The Independent: "Melissa McCarthy and Richard E Grant are gloriously obnoxious." (5 stars)
The Telegraph: "Literary forger Lee Israel is such a singular antiheroine she could only, really, have been played by Melissa McCarthy, who has a rare gift for finding sympathetic angles on unbearable people. In Can You Ever Forgive Me?, McCarthy gets her most tragicomic role to date. Sandpaper-abrasive, not giving a fig – though she’d use filthier language – for anyone in her path, she’s a die-hard loner whose sole emotional attachment is to her cat." (5 stars)