‘Can You Ever Forgive Me?’- A life full of bills and failures lead Lee Israel to be involved in literary forgery

By Danilo Salazar

The London Film Festival presents ‘Can You Ever Forgive Me?’- An adaptation of the autobiography written by Lee Israel, who was an American author recognized for being involved in literary forgery. Screen writers Nicole Holofcener  and Jeff Whitty and Marielle Heller as the director got on board for this project together with Melissa McCarthy, who is immediately associated with comedy, but this is not exactly the case, even though she makes us laugh in some parts of the film.

‘Can you ever forgive me?’ tells a story of Lee (Melissa McCarthy) a 51-year-old writer with slightly black humor going through some rough days due low sales of her books. Her lack of inspiration and her books not catching readers attention leads her to start working in a law firm, but unfortunately, she gets fired, not for drinking at the office, but for swearing at her young manager.

After being three months behind bills, and desperation for money to pay for her cat’s vet, she starts to sell different books that she had at home, but she barely makes any profit. Therefore, she decided to go to the library to get some inspiration to write new content and that is where she finds a letter that will change her life forever. After trying to sell what happens to be a real letter from a well-known writer Brice, Lee soon realizes that no one will pay good money for the original letters she decides to change them – add personalized paragraphs and greetings. Her first successful sale shows her how this criminal act can bring her a fortune.

Lee’s adventures are supported by her friend Jack Hock (Richard E. Grant). He starts helping her to take revenge on people that used to humiliate her as well as selling her false letters.

What took Lee’s to write her autobiography, was the fact that she wanted to share her life story with people and explain how messed up it was in terms of love, friendship, work… As well as sharing the story of how she was caught by the police during her fraud time.


The movie is beautiful, touching and interesting. Seeing Melissa McCarthy in a new role is refreshing! Make sure to watch the movie. You can start with the trailer below!


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