Movie Review: Can You Ever Forgive Me?
There are varying opinions on Melissa McCarthy's work, but few can argue only a stellar actress can make an unpleasant character someone with whom you'd like to spend more time. In "Can You Ever Forgive Me?", McCarthy plays a grumpy, frumpy, foul-mouthed misanthrope -- while somehow maintaining a small semblance of the warmth we often associate with the comedy actress. Hugely sympathetic even at her worst, we can't help but root for her, no matter how far down the rabbit hole of literary crime she falls.
Lovingly directed by Marielle Heller with impeccable production design, "Can You Ever Forgive Me?" captures the wistful and tragic world that Lee inhabits, from the quaint wood-paneled book stores, to the dim Manhattan bars where she liked to knock back round after round of scotch and soda. The classic jazz-infused soundtrack invokes the icons of the early 20th century that Lee so admired, mixing with the 1991 time period for a distinctly nostalgic vibe.
"Can You Ever Forgive Me?" is just as much about the stifling of a woman's creativity and the yearning for praise from others as it is about a small-time con job, and that's what sets it apart from all the other wheeling-and-dealing crime pics out there. It's a tragicomic biopic of the highest order, with a marvelous performance from McCarthy at its center. McCarthy is so good, in fact, that you may seriously contemplate the possibility that she's a better Lee Israel than Lee Israel.
"Can You Ever Forgive Me?" is now playing in South Florida movie theaters. For showtimes, click here