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Friday, November 30, 2018

Can You Ever Forgive Me? 2018 * * * 1/2 Stars

Can You Ever Forgive Me?Director: Marielle Heller
Year: 2018
Rated R
Rating: * * * 1/2 Stars
Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Richard E. Grant, Jane Curtin

Can You Ever Forgive Me? is my latest write-up. After attending an 11 am screening, I now "forgive" star Melissa McCarthy for her past string of lousy, jarring films.

So yeah, Can You Ever Forgive Me? again has a McCarthy-like style of acting (her persona here is mostly unlikable). Still, this is an effectual, involving, and concerning drama. It's surely one of 2018's best.

Can You Ever Forgive Me? is well cast with a somber, piano-driven soundtrack and an attested view of winter in 1990's Manhattan. The flick avoids flimflam and unfolds with a mild-mannered amount of sledgehammer intensity. If you are any kind of writer (like I am), Can You Ever Forgive Me? will intrigue you. And if you like your movies as cinematic hot chocolate on a cold, frigid day, Can You Ever Forgive Me? will make you perk right up.

Image result for can you ever forgive me movie scenesBased on a true story and directed by Marielle Heller (The Diary of a Teenage Girl), Can You Ever Forgive Me? is not a vehicle I would compare anything to. I will say however that there's a scene between Jane Curtin and Melissa McCarthy that rivals the office segment between Dustin Hoffman and Sydney Pollack via 1982's Tootsie. It's the neutered version but effective nonetheless.

The rub of Can You Ever Forgive Me? involves one Lee Israel (played by a stripped-down and raw Melissa McCarthy). Cynicism meets "McCarthyism" as Lee struggles to maintain her status as a once promising author. Downtrodden, broke, and unable to get through her writer's block, Israel begins to forge letters from deceased famous people for major profit. Aided by her platonic buddy in Mr. Jack Hock (the scene-pilfering Richard E. Grant), Lee eventually gets caught by the feds and readily pays for her wrongdoings.

Image result for can you ever forgive me movie scenesAll in all, I'm hoping McCarthy and Grant get well-deserved nominations at the Academy Awards (for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor respectively). Also, I'm wishing the cinematography of Brandon Trost will get recognized as well. Granted, I know Can You Ever Forgive Me? is supposed to be just a morphed and disciplined character study. Still, Trost gives the pic an earthy, dim lit look. Sidney Lumet's untimely, 80's canon is the comparison that comes to mind. Rating: 3 and a half stars.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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