February 24, 2019

Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018)

Melissa McCarthy, Richard E. Grant


First, a petition to stop making Melissa McCarthy utterly hideous in every role she plays. She is a lovely actress and it's patently unfair that she always has to play these gross, schlubby characters. I want to see a glammed up McCarthy in a romantic comedy with the hot guy she deserves.

Okay, now that that's out of the way, I can agree the reason she probably keeps getting cast in these roles is because she's so damn good at playing them. She's so skilled at injecting just the right amount of humor you sometimes forget you're watching a drama at all.

This movie could have been bad. It could have been really bad. After all, who really cares about memorabilia collecting? And sure, people love a good story about a con artist, but without McCarthy's expert performance, we could just as easily have been left wondering why this story was made into a movie at all. Instead, she reels us in with juuuuuuuuust enough sympathy to ride along as she counterfeits her way through the art (letter?) world, while reminding us that this is not a hero's story. McCarthy is the reason we stay conflicted, stuck in the tension of wanting her to pull it off while simultaneously hoping she gets what she deserves. 

But ultimately it's the scenes with Richard E. Grant (who, btw, filmed an utterly delightful reaction video to his first ever Oscar nomination for the role) that bring this movie to life. Their interactions-the comedy between them--stand in stark contrast to the seriousness of the crimes they are committing. And that is really what this movie is: ridiculous comedy in the heart of something that takes itself very seriously.

Final word: Underestimate Melissa McCarthy at your own risk

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