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Photo caption: Melissa McCarthy in Can You Ever Forgive Me?

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Rated R
Directed by Marielle Heller | In English
Screenplay by Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty
Starring Melissa McCarthy, Richard E. Grant, and Dolly Wells
106 min | Biography/Comedy/Drama | 2018


November 16–22

THUClosed for Thanksgiving


About the Film

In Can You Ever Forgive Me? Melissa McCarthy stars as Lee Israel, the best-selling celebrity biographer (and cat lover) who made her living in the 1970’s and 80’s profiling the likes of Katharine Hepburn, Tallulah Bankhead, Estée Lauder and journalist Dorothy Kilgallen.  When Lee found herself unable to get published because she had fallen out of step with the marketplace, she turned her art form to deception, abetted by her loyal friend Jack (Richard E. Grant).

Fox Searchlight

Melissa McCarthy has been in need of a substantial dramatic role for quite a while, and in Can You Ever Forgive Me?… gets one—and makes the most of it. But it’s clear, from the very first scene, that the movie, directed by Marielle Heller, is far more than just a showcase for McCarthy’s artistry. The film tells the story of the real-life writer and literary forger Lee Israel, and is based on Israel’s memoir of the same title. It is a fiercely composed, historically informed, and richly textured film, as insightful regarding the particularities of the protagonist as it is on the artistic life—and on the life of its times.

—Richard Brody, The New Yorker

With keen and often funny insight, Holofcener and Whitty’s script explores the internalized self-hatred of early ’90s queer culture and the push-pull dynamics of toxic friendships. A late scene in which Lee finally begins to reckon with the meaning of her short but spectacular career as a forger becomes a moving expression of the way taking pride in one’s work can give a life meaning, even if the work in question is of dubious legality. Most of all, this is a portrait of a difficult, brilliant, extravagantly imperfect woman, someone it’s a delight if not a surprise to find a great clown like Melissa McCarthy had inside her all along. 

—Dana Stevens, Slate

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