Can You Ever Forgive Me?
A grumpy cat lady turns criminal.
Melissa McCarthy has finally given the world “the kind of nuanced turn we all suspected she could deliver,” said Katie Rife in AVClub.com. Yes, McCarthy was hilarious in Bridesmaids. But she gets to dig deeper as Lee Israel, “a character she inhabits as comfortably as a pair of sensible walking shoes,” and comes up with “a career-best performance.” Israel, who died in 2014, was a writer of celebrity biographies who began forging celebrity letters and selling them—until the FBI caught on. When we meet her, she’s a cranky has-been whose agent ignores her calls but who desperately needs money to care for her sick cat. Israel’s accomplice, a gay British rogue played by Richard Grant, proves a perfect complement to the misanthropic protagonist, said Brian Truitt in USA Today. “Grant sparkles every time he shows up on screen, dishing out vicious bons mots.” Further “unexpected pleasures” emerge in a sensitively handled side story featuring Dolly Wells as a potential love interest for Israel who’s thwarted by the writer’s inability to open up to such a connection, said Emily Yoshida in NYMag.com. “What is on paper a small-time heist film in the vein of the Coen brothers is ultimately a cover for a more observant and relatable portrait of loneliness.”
EPK, IFC Films, Mary Cybulski ■