There are a lot of commonalities in Can You Ever Forgive Me? and Green Book, though it may not be apparent on the surface. For starters both are period pieces, early 1990s and 1950s respectively, at least in part both are New York stories, both depict the real life of an LGBT person without their sexual identity being the focal point of the story and they are buddy movies about artists.
Another aspect these films share is that the trailers are absolutely useless. Even the great zingers in these films build up over time. The writing is fantastic and the laughs are meaningful, not forced from an armlock. YOU’RE LAUGHING, RIGHT?
Performance-wise Melissa McCarthy shows off an impeccable range. It’s a devastating, funny and realistic performance. You don’t doubt her portrayal of author and literary forger Lee Israel for a single moment.
Mahershala Ali’s performance is spot on as sophisticated piano virtuoso, Dr. Don Shirley and his Odd Couple routine with ever impressive Viggo Mortensen brings out the real humanity and depth of both of these characters. “I understand that life can be complicated” says Mortensen’s Tony Lip, a man otherwise known more for his knuckles than his compassion. Their adventures on a music tour in the segregated deep south of not so very long ago America brings our history to light in a truthful and in between the laughs, heartbreaking way.
These films are Oscar worthy in various artistic and technical categories. If you are looking for funny, deep, thought provoking, well-crafted, historical and yet personal films to watch, I recommend Can You Ever Forgive Me? and Green Book to you.