HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Anna
Moulin Rouge
Ray & Liz
African Queen, The
Helen Morgan Story, The
Golem, Der
Yentl
Finishing Line, The
Triple Threat
Mysterious Castle in the Carpathians, The
Driven
Planet of the Dinosaurs
Gwen
Big Breadwinner Hog
Thunder Road
Moby Dick
Frankenstein's Great Aunt Tillie
Mad Room, The
Phantom of the Megaplex
Night Sitter, The
Child's Play
Power, The
Midsommar
After Midnight
Dolemite is My Name
Varda by Agnes
Toy Story 4
Master Z: Ip Man Legacy
Man Who Never Was, The
Greener Grass
Scobie Malone
Gangster, the Cop, the Devil, The
Brightburn
Satanic Panic
Claudine
Harpoon
Great Northfield Minnesota Raid, The
Dark Phoenix
No Mercy
Arctic
   
 
Newest Articles
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
Marvel's Least Loved and Most Loved: Fantastic 4 vs Avengers: Endgame
Battle of the Skeksis: The Dark Crystal Now and Then
American Madness: Sam Fuller's Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss on Blu-ray
Flight of the Navigator and the 80s Futurekids
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
The Comedy Stylings of Kurt Russell: Used Cars and Captain Ron
Robot Rocked: The Avengers Cybernauts Trilogy on Blu-ray
   
 
  Can You Ever Forgive Me? Will Write For FoodBuy this film here.
Year: 2018
Director: Marielle Heller
Stars: Melissa McCarthy, Richard E. Grant, Dolly Wells, Ben Falcone, Gregory Korostishevsky, Jane Curtin, Stephen Spinella, Christian Navarro, Pun Bandhu, Erik LaRay Harvey, Brandon Scott Jones, Shay D'lyn, Rosal Colon, Anna Deveare Smith, Marc Evan Jackson
Genre: Biopic
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Lee Israel (Melissa McCarthy) likes a drink. She also likes to write. Once upon a time, in the nineteen-seventies and eighties, she made a living from the writing, but now the nineties have dawned, she spends more time drinking. And looking after her beloved cat, which has been her strongest relationship for some time now, but lately puss is growing old, needs vet bills to be paid, and the charming apartment they share is looking (and smelling) a lot less appealing than it did when they moved in. Worse than that, her agent (Jane Curtin) is not returning her calls, and when Lee gatecrashes her party, she makes it plain the biographies she pens are not selling anymore...

This true crime story would have been much of a muchness in the torrent of such things that had arrived in cinemas and television since the beginning of the millennium, but what lifted the best of these was a strong central performance, and Can You Ever Forgive Me? was blessed with two of them. McCarthy had been in one of the worst reviewed (and worst received by the public) efforts of the year, The Happytime Murders, when she pulled this one out of the hat, far from the lazy, hacky material she was too keen on in trying to sustain her name above the title stardom, here she was funny, yes, but she was also inhabiting a convincing portrayal of a real woman, with big flaws.

Israel fell into forgery out of desperation to keep her head above water, but that does not necessarily mean you forgive her, as the title asks. What does make you more lenient in your judgement was that no matter how spiky and downright unpleasant she could be - and this does not soft-pedal those qualities at all - she was incredibly vulnerable as well, suffering from a misanthropy that was a result of her closing herself off from the world except on her own increasingly limited terms. Her fake letters from long dead celebrities are snapped up by collectors when her genuine research, meticulous as it was, counted for nothing when readers simply were not interested.

We can tell from more or less the beginning Lee is heading for a fall, and her persistent lawbreaking cannot prop up her shaky self-worth, never mind her shakier circumstances, which offered the relating of her life story a slow-motion car crash tone. Just as we can tell that no matter how much she spends on that darn cat, the feline is not long for this world, Lee's lifestyle is self-destructive, only she does not mind who she takes down with her. By all rights this should have rendered her hateful, but director Marielle Heller was careful to include little notes of sympathy, so we understand why she behaves as she does, for Lee is struggling in a city, a world, in fact, that just does not value her. Some queried further: why should we care she is getting one over on people with more money than sense, anyway?

Adding to that curious, downbeat investment was Richard E. Grant as Israel's friend, practically her sole friend, Jack Hock, a dissolute and HIV-ridden rogue whose considerable charm make up for his poor choices and lack of reliability in a way that Lee's put upon nature make up for hers. Many were quick to point out comparisons between Jack and Grant's first big impression in Withnail & I, and they were certainly there, but he was too good of an actor to fall back on a limited range of tics, and here delivered a character who could just as easily have been a compelling lead as his screen pal. Hock helps her in her crimes, and despite his waywardness you do feel sorry for him, it's like he cannot help himself, though you also feel sorry for Anna (Dolly Wells), the bookshop owner taken in by Lee yet could also have been a much better friend to her had Lee treated her with the dignity she deserved. There were shades in each personality here, and the main thing holding it back was its adherence to dowdiness that did down those vivid characterisations. Other than that, admirably performed all round. Music by Nate Heller.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 292 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: