Ricky's Film Reviews

Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases

Can You Ever Forgive Me?


When Lee Israel falls out of step with current tastes, she turns her art form to deception.



Melissa McCarthy – Lee Israel

Richard E. Grant – Jack Hock

Dolly Wells – Anna

Ben Falcone – Alan Schmidt

Jane Curtin – Marjorie

Stephen Spinella – Paul


Not bad, this one. Grant and McCarthy make a dream duo as Lee and Jack, who ensure the story of this author and drug-dealer is told in a highly entertaining way. She is generally full of jest and brings laughs, he generally knows how to deliver a line brilliantly. And with both forces joining here you just can’t go wrong. Although the pairing is unusual (when the hell would you see a woman like her with a man like him?) it works; McCarthy pulls at the heart strings with Lee’s sad situation before Grant enters the picture and pokes at the funny bone. This mix of emotions means viewers get a taste of real life from the truly authentic feel which stems from the ups and downs being acted out. This is not a movie made from one solid genre; it curves between drama and comedy – many people could relate to it. The story is incredibly minimal and takes just one path, but then it is based on real events so there’s only so far they can go I suppose. It progresses at a good pace and ensures the viewer is immediately sucked in with a crafty story to follow – and it really is crafty given what the pair get up to with their literary flogging.

McCarthy totally makes the role her own by playing the mischevious writer in a way which uses one of her main talents – combining comedy with tragedy. She did it in Identity Thief and St. Vincent, and she does it here. If you appreciate her efforts she will have you giggling a few times, before clutching your heart. The actress drills down into the root of human emotion and delivers an honest piece of drama that mirrors life in general. No pretentious crap here, just her reminder of our real-life ability to experience emotions on different scales.



Can You Ever Forgive Me? is likely to have writers and poets reeling with anticipation as McCarthy’s character goes from one bookstore to another, flogging forged letters by famous people. It’s a literary treat to get your teeth in to if you are any of the above, or similar. It’s also dripping with deceit and perfect for people who appreciate a crafty comedy – this is probably its most valuable quality as it differs from most recent comedies and echoes simpler times. It’s equally as sad though, be prepared for  one or two surprisingly raw moments.

In “Can You Ever Forgive Me,” Towne the cat more than held his own opposite Melissa McCarthy.


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This entry was posted on May 11, 2019 by .
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