The French comedy Sink or Swim will close out the Shuswap Film Society’s International Film Festival on Saturday, Feb. 23 at the Salmar Classic. (File photo)

Oscar nominee Melissa McCarthy stars in Film Fest showing, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Cinemaphile by Joanne Sargent

The Shuswap Film Society’s 30th annual International Film Festival wraps up this weekend, but there’s still time to catch some good films:

Friday, Feb. 22, 4 p.m. is Can You Ever Forgive Me?

This movie stars Melissa McCarthy in her Golden Globe and Oscar-nominated role playing celebrity biographer Lee Israel. This is not typical McCarthy—expect darker comedy and more caustic wit—as Israel is a self-destructive, flawed and bitter character. It’s 1992 and Lee has fallen out of favour in the publishing business, but, after discovering letters from famous authors have value, she starts producing fake letters from dead authors and selling them. Her accomplice in the endeavour is her one and only friend Jack Hock, who is her drinking partner and a small-time hustler, played brilliantly by Richard E. Grant. Lee has a knack for the forgeries and makes a tidy living off it until authenticity comes into question and she comes to the attention of the FBI. Can You Ever Forgive Me? is a funny/sad true-crime story about two “beautiful losers” that is also a moving story of loneliness and isolation, and a compelling showcase for McCarthy’s best performance of her career.

Friday, Feb. 22, 7:30 p.m. is If Beale Street Could Talk.

This film is about how love and humanity endure in the unforgiving and racially biased world of 1970s Harlem. Tish, a young pregnant black woman, has to battle for justice when her fiance Fonny, the father of her child, is falsely accused of rape, set up by a racist cop with a grudge. The victim, who was raped but not by Fonny, has fled the country and won’t be coming back to testify. Tish’s mother tries desperately to appeal to the victim, determined that a bigoted cop won’t be allowed to ruin her daughter’s life (the mom is the award-winning role by Regina King). The story is predominantly focused on the relationship between Tish and Fonny, the deep pure love of a couple separated by injustice, but never truly divided.

Read more: 13 flicks featured in Shuswap Film Society International Film Fest

Read more: It’s official: the Oscars will air without a host

Saturday, Feb. 23, 4 p.m. is the festival Encore Presentation which is the audience choice movie (not determined at press time – check shuswapfilm.net or the Salmar Classic Cinema.

Saturday, Feb. 23, 7:30 p.m., is the closing night film Sink or Swim. The festival wraps up with a subtitled French buddy comedy about a group of middle-aged guys looking to find renewed purpose in synchronized swimming. Although they’re dealing with personal issues like unemployment, depression, poor family relationships and social isolation, the men find camaraderie in the pool. They are a motley crew—flailing dad bods attempting delicate choreography—and definitely underdogs as they train for the World Championships. Sink or Swim is a light-hearted feel-good movie about overcoming obstacles and finding your place in the world. A perfect end to the festival.

Coffee and hand-made chocolates in the lobby starting at 6:30 and door prizes.

All movies are at the Salmar Classic Cinema.


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