★★★★ | Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Based on the life of book author, and Lesbian, Lee Israel, and fluidly directed by Marielle Heller, Can You Ever Forgive Me? based on the late Israel’s memoir, tells about the misadventures of Israel’s life. She was a Manhattanite who didn’t have much money to rub together, so she starts forging signatures of famous people and then sells them to collectors, raking in big money.
Questions start arising about her charade, and soon enough she has to pull back, and then enlists her gay best friend Jack (Richard E. Grant – in his best performance ever) to take over her sales duties to pawn more fakes to the collectors. It’s early 1990’s New York City, and one gets the feeling that anything can happen then (‘if you can make it there you can make it anywhere’), and that Israel will rise above it all, but in the end, we know what is coming. But before, director Heller (working from a screenplay by Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty) perfectly sets the mood and vibe of New York, with bookshops almost at every corner (long gone now no thanks to the internet) and quite a few of the scenes in the film were shot in the West Village’s classic gay bar Julius.
Can We Ever Forgive Israel? Yes, we can definitely forgive Israel for what she’s done because it has brought us this fine movie. McCarthy and Grant have been nominated for Oscars, let’s hope that if anyone of them wins, it will be Grant. He is just superb in his role, debonair, chilled, and like a fine wine, getting better with age.
Tim Baros writes film and theatre articles/ reviews for Pride Life and The American magazines and websites, as well as for Hereisthecity.com, Blu-RayDefinition.com and TheGayUK.com. He has also written for In Touch and TNT Magazines, SquareMile.com and LatinoLife.co.uk. He is a voting member for the UK Regional Critics Circle and the Gay & Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association (GALECA – of which he is the UK representative). In addition, he has produced and directed two films: The Shirt and Rex Melville Desire: The Musical.