FRIDAY, OCTOBER 26, 2018 -- The biggest surprise in Melissa McCarthy's latest film is me confessing that Ms McCarthy is NOT a one trick pony. We've seen McCarthy's slapstick, physical, snarky comedy over and over. Pretty much the same routine as a rude, obnoxious screw-up and have grown accustomed to it.


But here she is doing the same thing that Steve Carell, Bill Murray, Adam Sandler, Eddie Murphy, Jerry Lewis all did... turn in a truly mesmerizing dramatic turn. In fact, a performance that many well earn her , at least a few nominations.

McCarthy's role is as Lee Israel, a washed up celebrity biographer who is at the bottom of the barrel, licking the slats. Her agent, played perfectly by Jane Curtain, tells her bluntly that she is washed up and to find another line of work. Lee is too far out of touch and nobody cares about her... at all. Only her drinking buddy friend Jack Hock (Richard Grant) who is also barely making it on the fringes of society.


Desperate to get meds for her sick pet, Lee sells an old letter she had from her days researching celebrities. She is shocked when she discovered it had considerable value and thus started her new profession of forging old celebrity letters. her forgeries were so good, buyers couldn't tell they were fake.


She continues on, bringing Jack in as her partner in crime until things get tight and the FBI starts asking questions. That's where the story gets fuzzy, depending on whom you ask. But that part is irrelevant; this is about the acting. This film is about McCarthy putting on an acting clinic and making little know director Marielle Heller look like a genius.


Not to be overlooked is Grants supporting role as the gay ne'er-do-well, and Curtain's small but of so effective role as her disinterested agent that will take you back to her days on SNL.


Toss in nearly perfect cinematography by Brandon Trost ("The Disaster Artist", "The Night Before", "The Diary of a Teenage Girl") and you wind up with an Oscar worthy production.


"Can You Ever Forgive Me?" is a wonderfully created, beautifully acted dark comedy that shows off a Melissa McCarthy that will shock everyone. She gives a performance that will easily grow legs for the awards season.   -- GRADE A --   GEOFF BURTON