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Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018)

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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
208 ( 102)
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 48 wins & 82 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

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »

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:

$8,803,865, 14 March 2019
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

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

Goofs

A couple of times we see the characters sitting in a bar, while a snowstorm is obviously occurring outside, but when they walk outside, there isn't any snow on the ground at all. See more »

Quotes

Lee Israel: Can you keep a secret?
Jack Hock: Who would I tell? All my friends are dead.
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

Featured in ITV Lunchtime News: Episode dated 9 January 2019 (2019) See more »

Soundtracks

Madeira
Written by Alexander McCabe
Performed by Alexander McCabe
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Write Me And Write Me Well.
24 January 2019 | by merelyaninnuendoSee all my reviews

Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Heller's Scorsese-like invasion on literary world ensues chaos with equal sincerity where the stakes might not be white or black and life or death, but its pragmatic theme surely makes it look like one. The structure follows a typical textbook method, with the first act being the chase of the thrills and the rush of accounting yourself as an outlaw, while the second one challenged equally by the opposite force followed by the last one that dwells on the pitfall of our protagonist. And as often does these biographies ask for, the makers ought to highlight the time period by various montages that helps them fast forward and keep the pace persistent. Among many metaphors that offers a husky layer on the narration, personally I connected the most with the cat. From her down fall to her resisting her way up the ladder, she basically represents the inner soul of our protagonist.

And if considering the supporting characters, Welles that helps and befriends McCarthy from stage one has a powerful character on paper, she emits guilt out of McCarthy and that is one of the strongest emotion that the film has to deliver and with McCarthy's jaw dropping performance, she hits the ball out of the park. McCarthy has never been short on her range, she has delivered the peaks of both ends, and has come back and widen it once again overpowering her own previous work.

She can be the least serious person in the room and also be the most one, she can be intense with those dead eyes and hilarious in her imitations, she colors her face with pity and guilt and she can express sharp cunningness in her body language. She is in one of those elite group of actors, that can do both comedy and drama nonchalantly. And supporting her thoroughly on the screen is Grant in his version of a mean street guy.

To be fair, he has a much more cinematic role than McCarthy. McCarthy might be the brains of all, but she doesn't know how to utilize it at its peak, how to glorify each moment, how to be celebratory and be bratty, boasting her skills without any shame in her bones, this is where Grant comes in. He charges at the screen like never before, he is always the anticipated antic in the script, he has a buoyant and layered character that keeps engulfing us for more chaos.

There is no order in his rhythm, he can be the guilty pleasures of the tale, he is easily seduced and so are we in his realm. Their humorous equation and instant connection in their first encounter is a smartly written act but their last meeting steals all the attention, striking horns of screen, these two high calibered actors are giving one of their best work. Can You Ever Forgive Me? grows more intense as much as the characters takes things lightly, it's that fear that ticks behind the screen, the greatest armor of Heller.


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