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Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018)

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IN THEATERS
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)
Reviews
Popularity
38 ( 11)

Richard E. Grant's Oscar Fantasies, Secret Obsessions

Richard E. Grant sits down with IMDb for a chat about his first Oscar nomination, his chemistry with Can You Ever Forgive Me? co-star Melissa McCarthy, and his lifelong celebrity obsession.

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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 40 wins & 84 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 Solonas
Brandon Scott Jones ... Glen
Shae D'lyn ... Nell
Rosal Colon ... Rachel
Anna Deavere Smith ... Elaine
Marc Evan Jackson ... Lloyd
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Storyline

Lee Israel (Melissa McCarthy) made her living in the 1970's and 80's profiling the likes of Katharine Hepburn, Tallulah Bankhead, Estee Lauder and journalist Dorothy Kilgallen. When Lee is no longer able to get published because she has fallen out of step with current tastes, she turns her art form to deception, abetted by her loyal friend Jack (Richard E. Grant). An adaptation of the memoir "Can You Ever Forgive Me?" relays the true story of the best-selling celebrity biographer (and friend to cats). Written by Fox Searchlight Pictures

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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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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

Opening Weekend USA:

$161,510, 21 October 2018, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$8,586,944, 14 February 2019
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Melissa McCarthy's husband, Ben Falcone, was attached to the project before she was. He recommended her for the lead when another actor backed out. See more »

Goofs

Twenty-first century automobiles vaguely drive around in some shots. See more »

Quotes

Lee Israel: This is a celebratory drinking session, not a wallowing one.
See more »

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 »

Connections

References Charade (1963) See more »

Soundtracks

Steeple
Written by Alexander McCabe
Performed by Alexander McCabe
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Write or Wrong
14 November 2018 | by jadepietroSee all my reviews

GRADE: B

THIS FILM IS RECOMMENDED.

IN BRIEF: Two great performances enhance a true tale about breaking the law.

JIM'S REVIEW: Lee Israel is a down-on-her-luck misanthropic writer who admittingly "likes cats more than people" and drink excessively. No one is interested in her novels, no one cares about her either. She is a sad lonely woman who isolates herself from the world and the world seems to prefer it that way too. Forced to survive, Lee decides that becoming a literary forger, complete with dead celebrity signatures, may actually be a more profitable vocation. Played with total honesty and conviction by Melissa McCartney, she becomes a most compelling character of worth in this fact-based biography, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Solidly directed by Marielle Heller and with a literate screenplay by Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty that captures the 90's sensibilities very well, the film spends a great deal of time establishing Lee's self-enforced exile from the human race and her get-rich scheme. The storytelling becomes a tad monotonous and is more leisurely paced than necessary. But the true life story of an author unable to cope with the harsh realities of life is always a fascinating subject.

And Ms. McCartney is a wonder, showing the full gamut of emotion. She restrains her great comic prowess and exchanges it for genuine pathos and vulnerability. Never allowing her character to become overly sympathetic or too much a victim, Ms. McCartney makes Lee a pathetic yet shrewd criminal. Abetting Lee is her partner-in-crime, a flamboyantly gay Jack Hoch. Richard E. Grant is superb as her only friend and carefree accomplice. These two misfits become a wonderful tag team and bring much nuance to their well written roles. They are both deserving of award consideration. Fine support also comes from its strong cast which includes Dolly Wells, Stephen Spinella, Ben Falcone, Anna Deavera Smith, and Jane Curtain as Lee's frustrated agent.

Can You Ever Forgive Me? is a nicely honed character study that provides an acting showcase for the talented Ms. M. who hopefully will have more dramatic opportunities in her future cinematic ventures.


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