Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Can You Ever Forgive Me?

DVD - 2019
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Lee Israel who made her living in the '70s and '80s profiling the likes of Katharine Hepburn, Tallulah Bankhead, Estee Lauder and journalist Dorothy Kilgallen. When Lee is no longer able to get published because she has fallen out of step with current tastes, she turns her art form to deception, abetted by her loyal friend Jack. An adaptation of the memoir, the true story of best-selling celebrity biographer (and friend to cats).
Publisher: Beverly Hills, CA :, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment,, [2019]
Copyright Date: ©2018
Branch Call Number: CAN
Characteristics: v
digital, optical, surround, Dolby Digital 5.1, rda
video file, DVD video, region 1, rda

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i
INVS
Jul 18, 2019

I had never heard of Lee Israel, but found this trail of forgery fascinating, as was her rather sad life. I've never been a fan of McCarthy, despite seeing & hearing that she's a hugely popular, a very decent person who has overcome some obstacles in her career. That said, I did found her acting very good, I was convinced she can be a serious actor based on this performance. I so disliked the character Hock it's hard for me to get past that and comment that Grant was incredibly believable, an excellent performance.

The first 40 minutes I nearly gave up, it must have been my concern for miss kitty that kept me going & the awful dread for her long life. Whether you like cats or not, to love a pet for 12 years then find them dead is so painful. I love every performance by Anna Deavere Smith.

j
jontalk
Jul 07, 2019

As a film buff, I found the acting believable and the story interesting though it's not in my opinion worth of awards. Melissa does a good job as does the rest of the cast and its certainly worth seeing for those who enjoy non-fiction. Prior to watching this I was completely unfamiliar with Lee Israel nor how she managed to sell forged letters to businesses who failed to verify the authenticity. Enjoy

a
aamcgrath
Jul 03, 2019

Personally, I didn't care for it.

m
mswrite
Jul 03, 2019

"Can You Ever Forgive Me?" is based on the strange but true story about the late New York writer Lee Israel. She was once successful, profiling celebrities of the caliber of Katherine Hepburn and Tallulah Bankhead. But by the dawn of the 1990s, times and tastes (and celebrities) have changed, and Lee's kind of writing has become passé.

"I was on the New York Times bestseller list," she angrily pleads to her long suffering editor, Marjorie (played with hard-boiled verve by Jane Curtin), "That ought to count for something!"

It doesn't. Nor, Marjorie points out, does Lee's abrasive personality. Her combativeness, and prickly unwillingness to schmooze and network--the cocktail parties, book tours and signings she disdains--have torpedoed the possibility of a shift to other kinds of publishing work.

Lee isn't interested in other kinds of work. She's a writer, and a damn good one, even if no one's buying anymore. But now this a fight for survival, not just pride. She is falling behind in her rent and having trouble affording life-saving medication for her sick cat, Jersey--apparently the only living creature she can allow herself to love unreservedly. Desperate, Lee resorts to forging the letters of witty legends of a bygone era, such as Noel Coward, Fanny Brice and Dorothy Parker, and then selling them to a series of unsuspecting New York booksellers who love these icons as much as she does.

And that is the crux of Lee Israel's dilemma, and her tragedy. Some of the bookish people she meets in the commission of her crimes are precisely the kind of friends she needs but can never have. They want to bond with Lee, and you can feel her wanting in spite of herself to bond with them, especially the lovely, lonely Anna. But her natural wariness and guilty awareness that she is deceiving them forces Lee to keep her distance. That leaves the charming, feckless Jack Hock (the delightful Richard E. Grant) as her only friend and eventual partner-in-crime. They are two of a kind yet polar opposites, and you wonder if Lee would have befriended Jack had she not been so isolated.

Melissa McCarthy, despite a number of comedic movie roles of varying quality, is still perhaps best known for her sparkling television work in the series "Mike and Molly." She is simply amazing in her portrayal of Lee. There's not a false note in her performance, for which she was justly nominated for a Best Actress Oscar. There is nothing remotely loveable about Lee Israel. She is self-pitying and snarky, and her social awkwardness teeters right on the edge of mental illness. Yet McCarthy's deft handling gives this difficult woman a vulnerability that at moments makes you ache for her.

Highly recommended--watch the movie once or twice and then watch again with the making-of commentary track enabled. The warm and funny conversation between actress McCarthy and director Marielle Heller absolutely illuminates the film.

r
Raun
Jun 25, 2019

When my husband brought this one home I was doubtful because the lead actress is in so many low brow B movies. This movie, for what it is, is well done, well acted and enjoyable. Other peoples lives, eeesh.

c
cmarie20
Jun 21, 2019

Ingenuity caused by desperation. Well done! She profited by other people's egos.

c
Courier2003
Jun 17, 2019

Very good true story. Her sentence was too light for defrauding the public with 400 fake letters. Shed was a thief. Don't look under her bed Yuk! Her gay friend played his roll well.
Comments at the end interesting. Both deserved the Oscar nominations.

v
vkreads
Jun 09, 2019

This is a movie true story, drawing the viewer into a world of emotional depth because of the motivations of the plot itself. Does the end justify the means?
Desperation will in fact drive ordinary people into doing what had formerly been believed as "unlikely" or even "never possible."
The end movie info says Lee Israel created 400 false letters. Oooh. That is alot.

Melissa McCarthy was a nominee for best actress, year 2019 Academy Awards. (won by Olivia Colman in The FAVOURITE)

And, Witnessing betrayal and deceit is never comfortable.
It's a true story; and so is the betrayal that happens daily, in so many millions of places in the world.

p
PearlyKayAm1
Jun 08, 2019

Good movie about bad people. Some witty banter between thoroughly unlikable characters.

s
Shellie1_us
May 29, 2019

The movie follows the book pretty well. Melissa McCartney, and Richard E. Grant had great chemistry. Lee drank her talent and her life away. She was mostly unlikable, but, she was great to her cats.

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jimg2000
May 13, 2019

***SPOILER ALERT***

PS text at the end of the film:

Lee forged and sold approximately 400 letters. Two of Lee's forgeries were included in Noël Coward's 2007 biography. They were removed by the second printing. Nora Ephron sent a cease and desist letter to Lee, demanding that she stop impersonating her on the phone. When summoned for jury duty later in life, Lee replied: "I am a convicted felon and thereby ineligible to serve. Who said crime doesn't pay?" Jack Hock passed away on 10/19/94, having been lovingly looked after by members of the Gay Men's Health Crisis Center. The New York Times called Lee Israel's book: CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME? : MEMOIRS OF A LITERARY FORGER a "sordid and pretty damned fabulous book."

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