In a biopic which is both humorous and melancholic, Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant are partners in crime in this compelling tale of literary forgery.
An adaptation of Lee Israel’s confessional memoir, McCarthy’s nuanced performance makes a hero out of an otherwise abrasive, closed-off character with only enough love to give wholeheartedly to her cat. Having already written a few celebrity biographies, it’s 1991 in New York and Lee Israel’s writing is no longer in vogue. After being fired from her day job, an accumulation of unpaid rent and an ill cat in need of pricy medication results in a financial conundrum. In a fateful moment, Lee comes across an original letter by actress and comedian Fanny Brice. Stealing and selling the letter to a book dealer, Lee turns her hand to a different type of writing: forging letters by deceased stars. Forming a friendship over one too many shared whiskeys in a gay bar, with the flamboyant drug-dealer Jack Hock (Grant) they join forces in a scam which becomes increasingly risky. Tenderly conveying their shared loneliness, McCarthy and Grant’s chemistry makes the duo’s fascinating alliance all the more heartwarming.
(research Rachel Williams). Much hype. Come and see why?