CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME? is a simple little true story criminal tale with career making performances from Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant. I liked it. Go see it. Maybe a nomination or two. The End.
Just kidding. Sometimes simple is a little better and a little refreshing. The movie is based on the true story of autobiographical writer Lee Israel, who’s career was so short lived, she quickly ran out of money, and in the early 90s, decided to make forgeries of letters that were “written” by deceased authors and actors, and sold them for top dollar. When reading up on her she actually had a career before becoming an autobiographical writer, mainly being a freelance journalist for magazines and in 1960s and beyond. But the movie doesn’t touch on that, it focuses right as she decides to make forgeries for money.
The movie is very tight (perfect run time), entertaining, and I was surprised about how well the humor works in this movie. I laughed out loud quite a bit, specifically the parts where she monologues the forgeries she is writing. The film is very formulaic, so if there are any movie buffs out there that can’t stand that anymore and want to see something different, you might not want to check this out. It has the typical rise and fall plot + an epilogue redemption sort of thing. Very simple fare, but I feel that if the film is entertaining to boot and the performances are more than average, then those familiar beats can be forgiven.
And the performances are where it is at. This is easily Melissa McCarthy’s best performance. Ever. Yes, better than Bridesmaids. She is fantastic here and is able to use her comedic ability to her advantage and actually not try to just Adam Sandler up everything this time. She makes Lee Israel somewhat sort of a sympathetic character even though we really should have no sympathy for her. Whether she gets nominated or not Oscar wise just depends on the other performances that have yet to be released. In a saner Hollywood community, Richard E. Grant would be a shoo in for best supporting actor as a old gay, not friend, but aquaintance, that helps her sometimes with selling her forgeries. Their chemistry is wonderful, playing off of each other on screen.
So like this simple little movie, my review will be that simple. If I spoil any of the forgery fun then I should be put in movie jail. I enjoyed this little film and while I wouldn’t buy it, I think if I could it on television or Netflix sometime I would definitely watch it through. Completely recommend this if you are a Melissa McCarthy fan, but I swear if she puts her husband in one more film…yeah yeah it’s cute that they work together on everything, but like Adam Sandler’s friends, it’s starting to get a tad annoying.