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

Director:

Marielle Heller

Writers:

Nicole Holofcener (screenplay by), Jeff Whitty (screenplay by)
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Popularity
4,826 ( 208)
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 53 wins & 98 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Melissa McCarthy ... Lee Israel
Richard E. Grant ... Jack Hock
Dolly Wells ... Anna
Ben Falcone ... Alan Schmidt
Gregory Korostishevsky ... Andre
Jane Curtin ... Marjorie
Stephen Spinella ... Paul
Christian Navarro ... Kurt
Pun Bandhu ... Agent Doyle
Erik LaRay Harvey ... Agent Solanas
Brandon Scott Jones ... Glen
Shae D'lyn ... Nell
Rosal Colon ... Rachel (as Rosal Colón)
Anna Deavere Smith ... Elaine
Marc Evan Jackson ... Lloyd
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Storyline

In the early 1990s, Lee Israel, a biographer with a modicum of writing success, has fallen on hard times largely of her own doing. Her choice of subjects is in general not of interest to today's book buying public, and she, in her only true friends being her aged cat Jersey and a scotch and soda in not really liking people and people in turn not really liking her, has burned bridges with everyone her agent Marjorie has built for her. She will have to start from the ground up again if she wants a writing career, as, hiding behind her subjects, the book buying public will not buy a "Lee Israel" on the strength of her name in not knowing who she is as a writer or person. This situation has led to her being months behind in rent as she spends whatever little money she has on alcohol and Jersey's medical needs. In doing research for her latest book on Fanny Brice - with no advance from Marjorie - and selling a cherished personal memento of a handwritten letter from Katharine Hepburn in ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Her greatest work will be her biggest crime.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language including some sexual references, and brief drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although he portrays an alcoholic, Richard E. Grant is allergic to alcohol. See more »

Goofs

When Lee is seen walking toward the 86th Street subway station, she passes the Citibank branch at 86th and Broadway, with an advertisement for Citi Priority Banking in the window. Citi Priority did not exist until 2016. See more »

Quotes

Lounge Singer: This next song goes out to all the agoraphobic junkies who couldn't be here tonight.
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Crazy Credits

As the closing credits start, they move to the left side of the screen and information about the protagonists appears on the right. See more »

Alternate Versions

Ahead of the film's release in Australia, the distributor chose to pre-cut the film in order to obtain an M classification. These changes removed detail of hard drug misuse (cocaine snorting) through re-framing, and also removed the film's sole use of very strong language by re-dubbing the term with a milder phrase. The uncut international version was later approved for a DVD/Video release with an uncut MA15+ classification. See more »

Connections

References Charade (1963) See more »

Soundtracks

Same Old Scene
Written by Bryan Ferry
Performed by Roxy Music
Courtesy of Virgin Records Ltd.
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
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User Reviews

 
Thoughtful work from a comic actress
9 September 2018 | by Lionesse20See all my reviews

After the abysmal Ghostbusters remake and the endlessly panned Happytime Murders, true fans of McCarthy will be glad to see her redemption in this dramatic turn. McCarthy really shines in her role as author Lee Israel and effortlessly portrays the loneliness and insecurity of her character. Her rapport with Grant (and even with the cat) is wonderful, and the writing is clever. This was a surprising and delightful highlight at Telluride this year.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 November 2018 (South Africa) See more »

Also Known As:

Can You Ever Forgive Me? See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$161,510, 21 October 2018

Gross USA:

$8,803,865

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$12,442,161
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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