This adaptation of Lee Israel’s autobiographical account of her mini crime spree as a literary forger is the type of strong, engaging drama that gradually unfurls and enraptures the audience. In the lead role, Melissa McCarthy is extraordinary as the socially brittle, alcoholic author who stumbles into a lucrative side business as a forger of fake personal letters from famous authors like Dorothy Parker and Noel Coward, and she’s well matched by a never-better Richard E. Grant as her tart-tongued drinking buddy who’s a handful in his own right. There’s a nice balance between character-driven, dialogue-heavy interactions and the demands of the real-life plot, which both co-exist remarkably as the movie heads towards its inevitable conclusion. The supporting cast, which includes a lovely Dolly Wells and a cast-against-type Ben Falcone, manages to shine, but ultimately this about all about McCarthy and Grant.
Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)