The new movie “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” starring Melissa McCarthy in a very serious role is all about real life and desperation. For anyone who decides to try and make a living in this world as an actor, dancer, singer or a writer there are few paths to success and many more paths to failure. In the case of the main character Lee Israel her path to ultimate failure as a writer was her early success as the author of several biographies, one of which made the New York Times best seller list. Her early success made her believe that she found her true calling in life, until the best sellers faded away as well as the residuals. Then she had to write novels while desperate as phone calls were not returned by her agent, who was in love with her when things were going well, but now does not even have the humanity to treat her with any kind of respect. What have you done for me lately?
Even though Lee lived in a run down horrible apartment alone with her cat in New York, her rent was still due every month so she had to make money and fast. The depressing and desperate life of Lee Israel are all depicted extremely well in this movie, leading to her both forging and stealing letters written by famous people from museums and libraries and then selling them to pay her rent and buy food.
This movie was extremely well acted by McCarthy and her co-star, actor Richard E. Grant, who plays Lee Israels best friend who helps her with her letter selling scam. Ironically McCarthy who is much better known for her comedy has starred in her best role playing a very serious part and she will be nominated for best actress this year as the Academy always appreciates serious roles far more than comedic ones. Lee Isreal went on to write a book about her life as a forger entitled, Can You Ever Forgive Me?: Memoirs of a Literary Forger that went on to achieve literary acclaim.
The Rotten Tomatoes rating for this movie is an extremely high 99% and I agree with this rating as well as give this movie my highest recommendation – that is all about real life and desperation.