#TIFF18: “CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?” REVIEW
Review by David Baldwin for Mr. Will Wong
After receiving critical acclaim at its premiere in Telluride last week, Can You Ever Forgive Me? lands in Toronto and hopes to keep the momentum going. Lee Israel (Melissa McCarthy) is a Biography Writer desperately seeking a new book deal. She is behind on all of her payments, and is running out of ideas. After having some luck selling historical letters on the black market, Israel gets the idea to start fabricating some of her own.
Lengthy title aside, Can You Ever Forgive Me? is a wonderful character study that remains compelling at all times. We want to see Lee succeed whatever way she can (even if she’s self-destructive), and we feel her every struggle. Most of this is due to McCarthy’s fearless performance. She still maintains her vulgar wit, but she is more subdued that what we are used to, going deeper than she ever has before. Her work here is some of the best of her career, showing off an emotional side she has only hinted at in the past. And if that was not enough, the Film also packs a delightful turn from character actor Richard E. Grant as her friend Jack Hock. I sense future Oscar nominations.
Can You Ever Forgive Me? screens Saturday, September 8 at 12:15 PM at Winter Garden Theatre, Sunday, September 9 at 3:00 PM at Scotiabank Theatre and Saturday, September 15 at 12:00 PM at Princess of Wales Theatre.