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Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018)

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2:35 | Trailer
When Lee Israel falls out of step with current tastes, she turns her art form to deception.

Director:

Marielle Heller

Writers:

Nicole Holofcener (screenplay by), Jeff Whitty (screenplay by)
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Popularity
1,151 ( 324)
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 51 wins & 83 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Melissa McCarthy ... Lee Israel
Richard E. Grant ... Jack Hock
Dolly Wells ... Anna
Ben Falcone ... Alan Schmidt
Gregory Korostishevsky ... Andre
Jane Curtin ... Marjorie
Stephen Spinella ... Paul
Christian Navarro ... Kurt
Pun Bandhu ... Agent Doyle
Erik LaRay Harvey ... Agent Solonas
Brandon Scott Jones ... Glen
Shae D'lyn ... Nell
Rosal Colon ... Rachel
Anna Deavere Smith ... Elaine
Marc Evan Jackson ... Lloyd
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Storyline

Lee Israel (Melissa McCarthy) made her living in the 1970s and '80s profiling the likes of Katharine Hepburn, Tallulah Bankhead, Estee Lauder and journalist Dorothy Kilgallen. When Lee is no longer able to get published because she has fallen out of step with current tastes, she turns her art form to deception, abetted by her loyal friend Jack (Richard E. Grant). An adaptation of the memoir "Can You Ever Forgive Me?" relays the true story of the best-selling celebrity biographer (and friend to cats). Written by Fox Searchlight Pictures

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Her greatest work will be her biggest crime.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language including some sexual references, and brief drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 November 2018 (South Africa) See more »

Also Known As:

Can You Ever Forgive Me? See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$161,510, 21 October 2018

Gross USA:

$8,803,865

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$12,442,161
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Richard E. Grant was recording an interview with Terry Gross for her National Public Radio program "Fresh Air" when Gross was the one who informed his that he had just been nominated for a SAG Award: "GROSS: I want to take a short break here and then talk with you some more. So if you're just joining us, my guest is Richard E. Grant. And he stars with Melissa McCarthy in the film Can You Ever Forgive Me? He won the New York Film Critics Circle Award for it, the San Diego Film Critics Society. Now he's nominated for a Golden Globe, an Independent Spirit Award and others as well. Oh, you just got nominated for a SAG. My producer just told me you're nominated for a SAG Award. GRANT: Wow. Wow. That's amazing. GROSS: Did you not know that? GRANT: No, how would I know that? GROSS: Oh, congratulations! GRANT: I've been talking to you. Sorry, I'm talking to you, so I had no idea. Goodness me. Thank you. GROSS: Oh, I'm sorry. I'm taking you away from the big news. Do you want to check your phone for a second and see? GRANT: I'm sure my daughter might have texted me. Can I just... GROSS: Sure. (Laughter) Take a break. GRANT: Let's have a look. Oh, wow, and Melissa has got one too. That's fantastic. Wow. God, I'm absolutely thrilled. Goodness me. There's nothing like the approbation of your own peers. GROSS: No, no. I know. I know. GRANT: Wow. You've got me at a emotional moment here. I never thought this would happen to me. Thank you. GROSS: Now that we've heard that good news, we're going to take the real break (laughter). And after we take a short break, I'll be back with Richard E. Grant. This is FRESH AIR." See more »

Goofs

Rolled thermal fax paper would have been used for the fax machines, not plain paper as represented in the time period of the movie. Plain paper fax machines did not come into use until much later. See more »

Quotes

Lee Israel: I'm a 51-year-old who likes cats better than people.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Closing credits appear onscreen as if typewritten. See more »

Alternate Versions

Ahead of the film's release in Australia, the distributor chose to pre-cut the film in order to obtain an M classification. These changes removed detail of hard drug misuse (cocaine snorting) through re-framing, and also removed the film's sole use of very strong language by re-dubbing the term with a milder phrase. The uncut international version was later approved for a DVD/Video release with an uncut MA15+ classification. See more »

Connections

References Giant (1956) See more »

Soundtracks

I'll Be Seeing You
Written by Sammy Fain and Irving Kahal
Performed by Billie Holiday
Courtesy of The Verve Music Group
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Fascinating depiction of serial dishonesty
10 November 2018 | by PotassiumManSee all my reviews

Melissa McCarthy is not known for her dramatic roles, but this film might change that. It's the gripping story of Lee Israel, a struggling Manhattan writer who in the early 1990s undertook the extraordinary step of falsifying letters from famous people to make ends meet.

McCarthy is an eye-opener here as the hard-drinking, acid-tongued Israel, a miserable middle-aged woman who sought friendship in precious few souls, one of them being a mysterious figure on the Upper West Side portrayed with fierce verve by Richard E. Grant, who winds up becoming something of an accomplice to her enterprise. She is desperate to pay her bills. His murky story becomes more known as the film progresses. The two of them are an odd couple, as they both have setbacks and misery to look back upon, but their pessimism and misanthrope are not equally shared.

This film will offer a glimpse of nostalgia for anyone who remembers New York in a now quaint era, when struggling writers still lived as adults in Manhattan, when life was endearingly bleak and bookstores were not yet massive chains. That sense of atmosphere I greatly admire. Recommended to anyone who enjoys a scathing story of literary scheming.


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