Melissa McCarthy has been in a rut for awhile now. Most of her movie roles over the last several years were similar. She was playing a “Melissa McCarthy” type. In the drama St. Vincent with Bill Murray, she showed she had more acting chops than we thought, but we hadn’t seen her take this type of a role since.
Can You Ever Forgive Me is the most unlikely role Melissa McCarthy has ever taken on and she just knocks it out of the park.
Lee Israel (McCarthy) is a down on her luck author, desperately trying to complete her latest book to get some money. She is behind on her rent. Her cat is sick. She is a heavy drinker. Her agent (Jane Curtin) won’t return her phone calls. What can she do?
When she finds a letter written by Fanny Bryce, she discovers that there is a market for old personal memorabilia of old time stars. Lee decides that she would take advantage of this situation and forge these letters by using her own talents as a writer to make the letters very personalized.
I found this movie completely engaging and entertaining. I thought Melissa McCarthy was astounding as Lee Israel. The great Richard E. Grant as Jack Hock was amazing casting. The relationship between Lee and Jack was one of depth and realism. Their friendship was uncertain but different than most you see on the screen. Two pretty wicked people finding a fellow scammer in each other.
Despite Lee Israel being a unlikable person, you can relate to her and connect with her. She has problems that all of us have and she is only doing what she can to try and solve them. She makes bad choices in the long run, but you can understand why. At first, she was just trying to get the vet to help her cat (By the way, I hated that veterinarian who is turning away this poor sick cat over 80 some dollars. Screw you, vet).
You can tell that Lee is enjoying her success and the money that is coming with it as the whole act strokes on her ego. McCarthy does the whole thing brilliantly.
I believe Melissa McCarthy is absolutely an Oscar worthy nominee this year as Best Actress for this role. She should be awarded for taking something different and doing it so well. It very well could be a career resurgence.