I finally got to see Can You Ever Forgive Me? this past weekend and was delighted with the film from beginning to end. Melissa McCarthy’s take as controversial author Lee Israel was nothing short of amazing to watch as she really fell into the role head on and kept this writer glued the entire way through.
Melissa, along with Lady Gaga in A Star is Born, is on the short list of actresses vying for a Best Actress nomination at next year’s Oscars. While I think both are a shoo-in, there’s one other actor from CYEFM? worth noting for when it comes to the Best Supporting Actor category, and that is Melissa’s costar in the film Richard E. Grant.
Although the focus on the movie is directly about Melissa’s portrayal of Lee and her catastrophic rise and downfall in the world of literary embellishing, there is also something to be said about her best friend Jack Hock who is played by Richard.
Jack enters in the beginning of the movie at a popular New York City gay bar named Julius which is still open today (it’s set in the late 80’s.) What started as a sparse friendship between them ultimately led him to go into business with Lee to help her make a ton of money from letters she forged from icons including Dorothy Parker and many more.
He plays the part of a somewhat bumbling older gay man brilliantly as Jack stumbles through the film with really no ambition or need to be anything greater than what he is. He sells drugs on the side for his own bit of money and crashes on Lee’s couch as he has no other place to stay, but there’s no malintent or anything that makes him a villain or a pain in her side in it given that Lee was already a gigantic mess herself.
If anything, it helped her want to do something again after some of her biographies landed up on the 75 percent off bin at the bookstore amid other authors like Tom Clancy scoring huge book deals while no one seemed to care about her writing (besides an innocent librarian who she sells her forged letters to).
Richard really was a fun character to watch in CYEFM? as he did his best to stick by her even when he completely f***s stuff up completely unbeknownst to him. The Oscar world this year is chock full of a ton of either gay actors or characters who identify as part of the LGBTQ spectrum (Rami Malek in Bohemian Rhapsody, Lucas Hedges in Boy Erased, etc) and I’m hoping that the Gosford Park actor is not only included in that potential group but also wins as well come award show time.
This post was created by one of our Contributing Writers and does not reflect the opinion of Instinct Magazine or the other Contributing Writers when it comes to this subject.