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Can You Ever Forgive Me?

All the old threads on this 2018 movie are closed, so I thought I'd start another one!

Any thoughts on this movie? I was shocked at how good it is and how Melissa McCarthy failed to win the Oscar. Plus how great was Richard E Grant?

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by Anonymousreply 66March 30, 2023 5:21 PM

Richard E. Grant is an excellent actor, but he also comes across as such a great human being.

by Anonymousreply 1December 11, 2022 8:12 PM

I loved that movie! A black comedy with humor that was both truthful and absurd, and Melissa McCarthy proved she really can do more than fart jokes.

by Anonymousreply 2December 11, 2022 8:17 PM

Great movie - captures the old NYC that was fading even then. Characters living hand to mouth - somehow surviving. Nasty pieces of work - but redeeming qualities. Seems like any of those types who were still left in NYC disappeared during the pandemic and never came back. Even Julius is now mostly younger post-2000 arrivals. But great film , well acted and reminds me of what I love about NYC - the people.

by Anonymousreply 3December 11, 2022 8:25 PM

Great film on an interesting subject but I think it maybe came across as too much of an Oscar bate.

by Anonymousreply 4December 11, 2022 8:28 PM

Critic Rex Reed knew Lee Israel and raved about McCarthy's performance.

The Lee Israel I knew was bitter about the commercial failure of her book on Estée Lauder and frustrated by the work on her next project, a planned biography of jazz singer Chris Connor, which she abandoned midway. She was tough, funny, smart and unprincipled, but I found her fascinating—until she started trying to borrow money. I had no idea she had secretly embarked on a new criminal career of treachery and deceit, filching the letters of literary icons from libraries and archives, forging duplicates, and selling them to collectors for huge profits. Convicted of multiple felonies but ironically sentenced to five years of probation and community service at, of all places, the New York Public Library, she had one last success when she bravely turned her larcenous experiences into the tell-all memoir Can You Ever Forgive Me?, which provided the source material for this remarkable film.

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by Anonymousreply 5December 11, 2022 8:31 PM

Was Julius' a real bar?

by Anonymousreply 6December 11, 2022 8:32 PM

Yes. About to be landmarked.

by Anonymousreply 7December 11, 2022 8:34 PM

I loved that movie and admired it for staying tough-minded to the end--Lee Israel was not "redeemed" and didn't "find love."

by Anonymousreply 8December 11, 2022 8:41 PM

R8 she did find a new kitten though!

by Anonymousreply 9December 11, 2022 8:53 PM

Can I out drink her is the question?

by Anonymousreply 10December 11, 2022 8:59 PM

Also captured the ability of all types of people to meet each other in a bar and talk. Seems so much less likely nowadays - though much more likely now in the much more social, less uptight, post-pandemic Julius and NYC.

by Anonymousreply 11December 11, 2022 9:40 PM

How did the Oscar become Glenn Vs Olivia? I knew Melissa had some buzz and some people on here felt she should win but she felt overlooked. Her performance (compared with most of her previous work) feels like a revelation

by Anonymousreply 12December 12, 2022 3:41 PM

WEHT McCarthy she was huge in every sense of the word for a while.

by Anonymousreply 13December 12, 2022 3:49 PM

I HATED the music they had running through the whole thing.

by Anonymousreply 14December 12, 2022 7:52 PM

Just watched this on a flight. Loved it, OP, especially the soundtrack.

by Anonymousreply 15March 14, 2023 1:59 PM

It's a really good movie. Maybe Melissa didn't receive her due because the industry thinks of her as a lowbrow comic actor. Hollywood is very provincial.

by Anonymousreply 16March 14, 2023 4:01 PM

Has anyone read Lee Israel's memoir?

by Anonymousreply 17March 14, 2023 8:52 PM

At last night's Oscar party, I wasn't the only one to screech "When did SHE get an Oscar Nom" when McCarthy came on to present, and then I looked it up.

And slapped myself in the head because I'd temporarily forgotten this awesomely dark-humored film, and how utterly great she was! She took a monumentally unsympathetic character, and made me deeply interested in every little thing she did, she really did a stellar job and deserved that nom! She really can act, not just do awful crude comedy.

by Anonymousreply 18March 14, 2023 9:37 PM

Can you imagine Julianne Moore in the role? She said director fired her. Melissa is great. Love Jane Curtin in her two scenes. Really underrated little film.

by Anonymousreply 19March 14, 2023 9:44 PM

I LOVE that movie. The old NY - that was still hanging on through the early aughts in places like Julius’. Great story, characters, movie, acting. Needs to be shown more often,

by Anonymousreply 20March 15, 2023 1:48 AM

I love the movie as well. Jane Curtin also narrates the audio book. She is sharp as glass, and I found listening to the book immensely entertaining.

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by Anonymousreply 21March 15, 2023 2:09 AM

Julianne's story.

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by Anonymousreply 22March 15, 2023 2:17 AM

I liked it way more than I thought I would. I went with a friend, and I had low expectations - but it was better than I expected.

by Anonymousreply 23March 15, 2023 2:19 AM

It’s one of my favorite movies. I’ve seen it 2 or 3 times…about time to watch it again. I really wanted Melissa to win the Oscar that year.

by Anonymousreply 24March 15, 2023 2:19 AM

Julianne is too pretty to play Lee Israel anyway.

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by Anonymousreply 25March 15, 2023 2:20 AM

Her idea that a new book on Fanny Brice being a blockbuster is hilarious.

by Anonymousreply 26March 15, 2023 2:25 AM

I really enjoyed this movie. Had no idea what it was about but it was at the E Street Cinema in DC. She was very good.

by Anonymousreply 27March 15, 2023 2:34 AM

I loved this movie and it proved that Melissa actually has the chops to play drama and not just brainless comedy. She was the bright spot of Nine Perfect Strangers as well.

As much as I love Julianne, she doesn't resemble Lee Israel at all. She would have needed more makeup and prosthetics than Charlize Theron had in Monster.

by Anonymousreply 28March 15, 2023 2:41 AM

The sick cat broke my heart. Lee was damn lucky she didn't end up in prison.

by Anonymousreply 29March 15, 2023 2:44 AM

R21 completely agree, her narration made the whole audiobook a pleasant breeze and brought our the humour so well. I just wish it had been a bit longer.

I'm no writer but I'm wondering why one flop book did her career in. She doesn't really say she was working on any projects after the Estée failure, I'm assuming her mental health was in decline for a while?

by Anonymousreply 30March 16, 2023 3:27 PM

publishers don't like it when your book does not sell and then it's harder to get a yes for another one.

by Anonymousreply 31March 16, 2023 3:29 PM

[quote]At last night's Oscar party, I wasn't the only one to screech "When did SHE get an Oscar Nom" when McCarthy came on to present

She also was nominated for Bridesmaids.

by Anonymousreply 32March 16, 2023 3:31 PM

Melissa McCarthy is a really good dramatic actress. Shame she continues to do shitty comedies. I feel the same way about Adam Sandler, who has been great in every “straight” role I’ve seen him in.

by Anonymousreply 33March 16, 2023 3:33 PM

[quote]As much as I love Julianne, she doesn't resemble Lee Israel at all. She would have needed more makeup and prosthetics than Charlize Theron had in Monster.

That's why she was fired.

Melissa and Richard were so perfect together I can't imagine Julianne and Chris O'Dowd or Helena BC and Sam Rockwell.

Marielle Heller did a great job of directing it. With Melissa, Richard and Tom Hanks the following year she directed 3 Oscar nominated performances in 2 years. Very impressive. And she was outstanding as the step/adopted mother in The Queen's Gambit.

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by Anonymousreply 34March 16, 2023 3:45 PM

Thank you, R25, that is definitely the face of someone who'd come into work in the morning, put a bottle of hard liquor on her desk, and start pouring!

But I can see why her career declined. Five seconds of research told me that she published three books, biographies of minor celebrities, the sort of thing that sells moderately well at best. If those books took years to write, then she'd probably demand more in advance money from publishers than the book would ever bring in, and didn't the "Bad Art Friend" scandal teach us how important networking and connections are to a modern writer's career? Israel sounded like she had a genius for pissing people off and making enemies, in a business where a person needs friends to succeed.

by Anonymousreply 35March 16, 2023 11:36 PM

I know it can be important work, but the notion of being a biographer has always seemed depressing to me—the idea of spending years of your life poring over the details of somebody else's.

by Anonymousreply 36March 16, 2023 11:40 PM

But then again, here I am on Datalounge.

by Anonymousreply 37March 16, 2023 11:47 PM

R36 I know what you mean but I guess you have to be really interested in your subject. Was Lee possibly on the autistic spectrum? She must have had a great focus to do her research couple with being socially difficult.

I was shocked at how much she was paid upfront for her work, in the 1970s!

Has anyone read any of her books apart from this memoir?

by Anonymousreply 38March 16, 2023 11:49 PM

Is the film streaming free anywhere now?

by Anonymousreply 39March 17, 2023 12:01 AM

One of my favorite parts is when McCarthy yells at Jane Curtin for being comfortable with a rich husband and a “classic six.” Such a great New York social marker. Very astute to insert that.

by Anonymousreply 40March 17, 2023 12:07 AM

Yes you can watch online.

by Anonymousreply 41March 17, 2023 12:15 AM

^ Where is it free?

by Anonymousreply 42March 17, 2023 12:46 AM


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by Anonymousreply 43March 17, 2023 2:10 AM

R17 Yes, I read the memoir after I saw the movie. The movie was true to the book. Lee never apologized.

by Anonymousreply 44March 17, 2023 7:11 AM

I can't believe they shoved her loser husband into this movie, too. It's bad enough that he's in all the stupid comedies. She must have it in her contract or something.

by Anonymousreply 45March 17, 2023 7:23 AM

R45 hubby was attached before Melissa was. He's the one who recommended her. And it's not like he's playing a big role.

by Anonymousreply 46March 17, 2023 8:33 AM

How do you know that, R46? That sounds more like something she would say to make his loser ass feel better. She seems to always do that in interviews. Oh, no, he's the real comic genius! Anyway, the point is that he is in every single one of her movies to the point that it actually takes people out of the movie because everyone goes, Oh, there he is again! It's ridiculous. He needs to get a life and stop leeching off hers, even if she's complicity in the leeching.

by Anonymousreply 47March 17, 2023 9:24 PM

I can't remember the husbands name but he's a fine character actor and he's good in the movie. It's not like he's playing Grant's role.

by Anonymousreply 48March 17, 2023 9:42 PM

It's not that he was bad in the movie. It's that he is in ALL of her movies. It's like playing where's Waldo at this point.

by Anonymousreply 49March 17, 2023 9:53 PM

This is a GAY forum. Not fag hag central.

by Anonymousreply 50March 17, 2023 9:59 PM

So Julianne wanted to wear a fat suit and fake nose but Melissa didn't need either?

by Anonymousreply 51March 20, 2023 7:31 AM

The pic at r25 looks like Lens. She could’ve played her.

by Anonymousreply 52March 20, 2023 8:05 AM

When Richard E Grant asks her who Fanny Brice is why doesn't she reference Streisand or Funny Girl?

by Anonymousreply 53March 20, 2023 8:08 AM

R53 That was the most unbelievable part of the film. No New York Elder Gay in the 1990s would have asked “who is Fanny Brice”.

by Anonymousreply 54March 20, 2023 8:39 AM

Let alone who is Marlene? Did you notice they had Marlene singing "Illusions" in the bar in the last scene?

by Anonymousreply 55March 20, 2023 9:06 AM

Was this before she got shot?

by Anonymousreply 56March 20, 2023 11:40 AM

R49 Is correct - the husband pops up and you immediately recognize him and it's a distraction.

by Anonymousreply 57March 20, 2023 12:02 PM

Richard E Grant does indeed seem like a nice person. I liked this movie because it showed old NYC. Back when an under employed alcoholic could live in Manhattan without breaking a sweat.

by Anonymousreply 58March 20, 2023 1:14 PM

The scene where they shovel cat shit from under the bed made me gag.

by Anonymousreply 59March 22, 2023 3:49 AM

I don't know why it was such a discovery. Maybe she was just used to the smell. But where did she think the cat was doing its business?

by Anonymousreply 60March 22, 2023 4:56 AM

I know this has probably been mentioned already, but her kitty dying due to neglect hurt me so bad. I could never imagine that for my kitty.

by Anonymousreply 61March 22, 2023 5:18 AM

Do you think she was right to not try and speak to the lady bookseller again? Yes she frauded her but she also had her story to return though I guess the lady had other copies. Maybe the writing was bad and that made it easier not to speak to her again.

by Anonymousreply 62March 22, 2023 5:44 AM

I found her contempt for the Tom Clancy character funny. Also I agree with him about writer's block in regards to writers of non-fiction.

by Anonymousreply 63March 30, 2023 8:17 AM

Loved this little gem of a movie. Harsh. Funny as fuck. Brutal.

McCarthy is actually a gifted actress.

by Anonymousreply 64March 30, 2023 9:23 AM

R61 that's dramatic license, the real "Jersey" passed away from old age with Lee present, she hadn't gone away for the night and left him with Jack.

R62 the lady didn't exist in real life, added in for dramatic purposes. The movie is largely faithful but embellished some things to make it more "screen-worthy".

by Anonymousreply 65March 30, 2023 10:50 AM

R65. Thank you. That makes me feel better about 'Jersey.'

by Anonymousreply 66March 30, 2023 5:21 PM
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