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Marielle Heller's Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Fox Searchlight

Annual Top Films Lists

Top 100 Most Anticipated American Indie Films of 2018: #46. Marielle Heller’s Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Can You Ever Forgive Me?

We couldn’t have asked for more from her debut film. An assured, check off all the boxes, winner of Indie Spirit Award’s Best First Feature, Gotham’s Award Best Actress and Cinematography Award Dramatic at Sundance, The Diary of a Teenage Girl contained all the poise of a veteran helmer. Prior to landing her sophomore directing gig, Marielle Heller has been attached to a multitude of projects, so in the meantime she did some TV gigs in Transparent and Casual. Originally, it was announced that Julianne Moore and Nicole Holofcener would team on Can You Ever Forgive Me?, but Moore was replaced by Melissa McCarthy (in what will undoubtedly be a new direction for the actress) and Holofcener moved onto The Land of Steady Habits. Heller directs from Holofcener’s script with filming having taken place in January of last year in New York City.

Spotful &

The movie is based on the life of Lee Israel, who made her living in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s writing profiles of high-achieving women such as Katharine Hepburn, Tallulah Bankhead, cosmetics executive Estee Lauder and journalist Dorothy Kilgallen. As the story begins, Israel has gone broke because she is no longer able to get her writing published. She has fallen out of step with the publishing industry’s new trend of warts-and-all biographies. New Yorkers consider her book about Lauder to be boring. Employees of the Doubleday Book Shop in midtown Manhattan can’t give away their copies of it. A broke Israel turns to deception, abetted by her loyal friend Jack (Richard E. Grant), who recently completed a prison sentence for armed robbery. Sounds fascinating. Heller reteams with cinematographer Brandon Trost.

Release Date/Prediction: Fox Searchlight releases this on October 19th. This will surely play at TIFF just prior.

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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