Saturday, April 27, 2019

Cats, books and forgiveness

I have neglected my blog lately, mainly because of I am finishing a new book about cats, specifically, a sequel to my "Writing with Cats" (2003). I am picking up the theme of feline spirituality from that earlier production--of the cat as a model of mindfulness--and going a bit further, having fun creating a fictional story as well as an essay that I hope will be entertaining as well as enlightening.

So, as I watched the 2018 movie last night, "Can You Ever Forgive Me?" I was glad to see that the main character, an unhappy New York writer down on her luck, has a cat.

What interested me in this film was the way a totally repellent, anti-social character, whose anger, sloppiness and alcoholism make her a totally unpleasant person, nevertheless comes across as a believable, almost sympathetic character.  We can't feel sorry for the abrasive Lee Israel, on whose life the story is based, but because of the intelligent screenplay and the memorable performance by Melissa McCarthy, we tend to care about this lonely woman, who turns to literary forgery to make ends meet. She doesn't turn us off the way she turns most people off. We sense the cause of her grouchiness.

Can we forgive this crooked, abrasive woman?  Well, we can forgive the character McCarthy plays so well: she is lonely and very human and worth our attention.  This is a book lover's movie, a New York movie, a cat lover's movie and a very original piece of work.