Review: Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Do you like cats better than people?

Lee Israel (Melissa McCarthy) is an author that normally writes biographies. When they stop selling, she's short on her rent, her cat is sick, her life is a mess and she's desperate. When she comes across a letter written by a famous writer by chance, she begins forging  letters by famous people and selling them off with the help of her new friend, Jack. (Richard E. Grant)

I wasn't familiar with Lee Israel prior to seeing this. This was a story I hadn't heard, and despite being about a crime, it wasn't very compelling. I had a hard time connecting with Lee and Jack. This calls back a bit to what I was talking about in my Wildlife review, another film following objectively unlikable people. It's easy to enjoy a film about unlikable people when the ones you're watching are so well defined. It's almost extraordinary how this film manages to miss that when Lee and Jack are real people. 

I think this movie is paced very well, but I was left wanting more context. I felt like I was given the bare minimum of information on the characters in this film. It's like I was watching a Spark Notes version. The script just leaves so much more to be desired.

Melissa McCarthy gives probably her best performance as Lee. If you've been reading me for a while, you know I'm not a fan of hers outside of Spy but I think her fans will absolutely adore this. Richard E. Grant is clearly having a lot of fun in this role as well. I can see why he's getting a lot of Oscar talk, even though I don't think it's the best supporting performance I've seen. The two together have great chemistry and some of their dialogue was fantastic.

Obviously I'm pretty lukewarm on this. If you're a big McCarthy fan, you'll probably love it. Director Marielle Heller's style is definitely all over this film as well, it feels a lot like her last feature, Diary of a Teenage Girl

Recommended: No

Grade: C

Memorable Quote: "How are you going to taste it with his dick in your mouth?" - Lee (Melissa McCarthy)


Comments

  1. The quote is hilarious. I love this actress so I might enjoy the film but the writing has to be good as well. It sounds like a film with good acting but the script let them down

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    1. That quote comes early on the film too, it kind of caught me by surprise. It was good one.

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  2. Fully agree here. Decent movie, but it felt like we were deprived of a lot. This movie felt like an acting vehicle for McCarthy and Grant above all else, and they both seized it.

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    1. Agreed. I feel like that recent SNL sketch with Claire Foy - "I'm positively STARVED for context!"

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  3. I might want to see this as I do like Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant as well as being a fan of Diary of a Teenage Girl. I'll check it out when it's on DVD.

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    1. I normally don't spot director techniques as easily as others do, so I was surprised while I was sitting through this that I actually thought "I wonder if this is the same person who did Diary of a Teenage Girl" That never happens to me. lol

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  4. I love Melissa so I am sure I will like it it Will be nice to finally see her in decent movie this year

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    1. It's nice that they reel her in from that slapstick comedy she gets stuck with so often.

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  5. Nice review! I thought this would be a fun movie to see, but not necessarily in a rush to see it. Nice that they both seem to give good performances.

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    1. It makes for an alright matinee for those reasons. lol

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  6. AW - I enjoyed this a lot more than you, but still agree that it was missing something. I thought McCarthy was excellent and the chemistry between her and Richard E. Grant was fantastic. I particularly loved how they were able to capture NYC in the '90s almost completely without any cultural signifiers.

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    1. They did have good chemistry together. I actually really liked that "I hate the urge to trip you just there" scene between them, that was really nice. I kind of softened on this a bit since writing it lol.

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