Saturday, November 24, 2018

Can you ever forgive me?

This morning I saw Can you ever forgive me? Starring Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant.

Lee Israel (McCarthy) was an acclaimed writer of biographies in a bit of a slump. Her agent wasn't doing anything to promote the book she was working on and her financial situation was dire. One day as she was doing some research at the library, a personal letter by the author of the book she was reading fell out. She kept it and sold it to an independent bookstore that dealt in collectibles. Amazed by the amount of money she received for it, she came up with a plan to make more.

Because she was such a gifted writer, Israel was able to mimic the style of several long-gone authors and forge believable letters, which she would then "weather" to appear old. She found a few reliable dealers who would purchase from her and made a good living, affording her to catch up on her rent and save her ill cat.

When a savvy customer catches on to her deception, she is blacklisted around town and enlists the help of her only friend Jack (Grant) who enjoys stepping in to take the reigns. Soon enough they're in real trouble and must face the consequences.

Although there were perhaps too many scenes of her sickly cat and too many references to the bugs in her apartment (it's clear that her situation was bad), McCarthy is never boring and the uneven pace is forgivable just to watch her magic. She makes a very unlikable person sympathetic and convinces you to root for her, though she way she treats people (including herself) is awful.

It's sad that someone so talented couldn't sustain success under her own name, but of course the ordeal gave her enough material to write the book upon which this film is based. If she were alive today, I'd bet she'd get a kick out of McCarthy's portrayal of her.


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