MOVIE REVIEW: Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Mellisa McCarthy, known for her comedic roles in BridesmaidsThe BossIdentity Theft and more, is taking on a different role, a more serious role in the new movie Can You Ever Forgive Me? The movie stars McCarthy as Lee Israel. It is based on the true story on the author’s adventure in literary forgery.

We meet Lee Israel in the 1980’s as she is just about to get fired from her day job. She’s seen enough literary success about writing celebrity biographies to have an agent but her caustic profane character has burned many bridges that her agent won’t take her calls.

On top of her struggles with her job, she is three months behind in her rent, an alcoholic and living with a 12 year old cat in Manhattan apartment so would that the exterminator doesn’t want to clean the apartment until she does something to fix the odor.

When she meets a British writer named Jack Hock, played by Richard E. Grant, McCarthy becomes friends with him. Around that same time, McCarthy stumbles upon some old historic letters that Lee sells to get some cash to pay a few bills. She discovers that she can get even more money from the collectors selling old historic letters.

Melissa McCarthy as “Lee Israel” and Richard E. Grant as “Jack Hock” in the film CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME? Photo by Mary Cybulski. © 2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

As Lee goes from collector to collector, director Marielle Heller shows us all the old Manhattan bookstores that’s stuffed from ceiling to floor with the known and unknown work of Lee’s colleagues. Soon enough we get to see FBI investigations unfold, which we know things will end badly.

McCarthy offers an excellent performance as Lee, showing her usual over the top comedic style while also retaining her wit and playing a more serious role than previous movie roles she’s portrayed in the past.

Lee’s mouth is the primary source of Can You Ever Forgive Me’s? humor but also the profanity that comes with drug use and mostly implied sexual content.

Can You Ever Forgive Me? is in theaters now.

Written by Will Heffernan