Biography Can You Ever Forgive Me

TIFF Review: ‘Can You Ever Forgive Me?’

September 16, 2018Britany Murphy

Having been a New York Times bestselling author, Lee Israel (Melissa McCarthy) is stuck in a rut. Her agent, Marjorie (Jane Curtin), is avoiding her calls and Israel is at her wits end. With bills to pay and a sick pet to take care of, Israel needs cash and she needs it ASAP — but just how she gets that money, is truly remarkable.

Struggling to get her next biography published and make ends meet, Israel has come up with an idea that might change her current misfortune. Upon doing research for her next project, wedged between the pages of a book, she comes across an original letter by the author of the book. Taking the piece, she brings it to a local book store and sells it. Surprised by the sum of money she gets, Israel turns this one-off into a thriving forgery business. When people grow suspicious over one letter in particular, Israel enlists the help of her new friend, Jack Hock (Richard E. Grant), and more shenanigans ensue, but the FBI are never too far behind.

Directed by Marielle Heller, Can You Ever Forgive Me? is a great biographical film that pays homage to both Israel and Hock as individuals, and as friends. Both McCarthy and Grant really step into their respective characters, and it is truly some of their best work to date. Despite the flaws of their characters, McCarthy and Grant manage to easily bring a humanity to their portrayals, making them a likeable pair in a not so likeable world.

Can You Ever Forgive Me? makes its international premiere at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival. Its runtime is 1 hr. 47 min.

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