6.5/10 Nominated for three Academy Awards, including two for Lead Actress and Supporting Actor, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” has its strengths and weaknesses but perhaps its greatest strengths do sprout from its performances. Melissa McCarthy is pretty hilarious in most of her Paul Feig comedies (“Bridesmaids”, “Spy”) and pretty unfunny in the films she does for her husband, Ben Falcone (“Tammy”, “The Boss”). However, like the late Robin Williams or even someone like Jim Carrey, perhaps McCarthy should be utilized in more dramatic roles because she gives a great dramatic performance here and it makes me wonder why she doesn’t make more dramatic films, where her true acting talents can shine. That being said, the story around her is pretty fascinating but unfortunately if you have seen the trailer, you kind of know how this already ends. And that is one problem with the movie is that even if you haven’t seen the trailer, the movie is rather predictable, despite being interesting along the way. The biggest obstacle this movie faces is that it really doesn’t have a single likeable character to root for, so we almost root for our lead actress to get caught so she can be put in her place. She treats everyone around her awful, whether they deserve it or not and she is your quintessential crazy cat lady. There are some funny moments and the soundtrack really works because the movie takes place in the early 1990s but because Lee Israel is forging letters from a past era, the music and soundtrack reflect that time gone by very well. Overall the direction, cinematography and editing are a little on the bland side and don’t make the movie stand out in any real way. The movie isn’t the most memorable overall so you are fine with skipping it in theaters and waiting for it to come out on DVD or streaming services. The real stand outs of the movie are the two main actors and the fact that this is an interesting, true story. Keep your expectations in check and you will get something out of this movie but don’t expect too much.
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