(2018) (Melissa McCarthy, Richard E. Grant) (R)
- QUICK TAKE:
- Drama: A down-on-her-luck and unemployed writer finds her calling in creating fake personal letters from famous authors of the past.
- It's 1991 and Lee Israel (MELISSA McCARTHY) is a writer who's enjoyed some success writing biographies about past famous figures, but can't find much work now. Her agent, Marjorie (JANE CURTIN), says that's not only due to few being interested in who she's writing about, but also because of her prickly demeanor that's recently gotten her fired from her day job.
While researching her latest subject, Fanny Brice, Lee happens upon a personal letter written by the woman and figuring it must be worth something, tries to sell it to a collector. Being informed it's not sexy enough to be of interest, Lee decides to add her own post-script to it -- copying the handwriting style -- and tries selling that.
Learning there's a market for such letters, she begins creating more of them, both in handwritten style and using vintage typewriters to get the look just right. Having incidentally been reunited with a former minor acquaintance, the roguish Jack Hock (RICHARD E. GRANT), Lee can't keep her illegal success to herself and spills the beans to her new best friend who revels in her creative but criminal endeavor.
At the same time, Lee is still fixated on her former girlfriend having dumped her, and thus doesn't seem to realize -- or at least ignores -- the fairly obvious romantic signals sent her way from bookshop owner Anna (DOLLY WELLS) who's bought some of Lee's latest "finds," not realizing they're forged.
From that point on, Lee continues her lucrative literary ruse that eventually segues into her stealing and selling real letters and replacing them with perfect forgeries.
- WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
- Older teens might show a little interest, but unless they're fans of McCarthy or someone else in the cast it doesn't seem that likely.
- WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
- For language including some sexual references, and brief drug use.
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