It's New York in 1991. Lee Israel is a failing biographer who sells letters by US comedienne Fanny Brice to get money. When she is told that the letters would be worth a lot more if they were “juicier”, she becomes inspired to delve into forgery with astounding results. This exciting movie is a small-scale delight. Following her successful The Diary Of A Teenage Girl, Marielle Heller takes on an incredible true story about a wonderful act of literary ventriloquism and makes it feel authentic and relatable through amazing detail, deft handling of tone, and lots of empathy. It's a laudable achievement for Melissa McCarthy whose career has been centered around comedy.
The movie is centered around Lee Israel, a frustrated biographer who goes into forgery of letters written by famous writers like Dorothy Parker, Lillian Hellman, and Noel Coward. Her life is painfully lonely and she draws strength from writing in other people's voices. As she begins her forgery career, she meets Jack Hock who helps her to flog her letters when memorabilia dealers start to get suspicious. Richard Grant and Melissa McCarthy are the stars of this movie and it's a nod to the fact that Marielle Heller is an amazing director.
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