Film Review: “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

Photo: Courtesy. “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”, starring Melissa McCarthy is a portrait of a damaged woman doing her best to take control of her life.

Rated R
106 Minutes
Released October 19

Melissa McCarthy is one of those rare actors whose instinct can unmask the face of comedy as the alter ego of tragedy. Don’t go into this movie thinking you are going to see one of McCarthy’s hilarious slapstick romps.

Settle in for a study in human nature. “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” is a sensitive, heartfelt cinematic portrait of an existence lived on society’s outer edge. The film is based on the memoir of writer Lee Israel. McCarthy plays Israel, a respected, best-selling biographer of iconic figures. As this story begins, Israel’s style of writing has fallen out of popular favor. Unable to find the funds to pay her rent and care for her beloved cat, she parlays her skills into the dark talent of forgery.

McCarthy’s portrait of a damaged woman doing her best to take control of her life using the talents she possesses, is spot on. The players that surround Israel are portrayed in depth and detail, though the closest relationship she has is with her cat. Jane Curtin (“Saturday Night Live,” “Third Rock from the Sun”) is pitch perfect as her tough-love literary agent.

This movie plays like a blues song – in fact composer Nate Heller has artfully designed a blues/jazz soundtrack that complements the film.

The music and the visuals evoke the angst of a character on the outside of humanity looking in as if through a dirty window.

You may come away with questions about the blurry line that exists between imitation and creativity.

Kathryn Whitney Boole has spent most of her life in the entertainment industry, which has been the backdrop for remarkable adventures with extraordinary people.  She is a Talent Manager with Studio Talent Group in Santa Monica. [email protected]