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#OnTheBigScreen: An indigenous outlaw, an evil force and the world's greatest detective

The not-to-be-missed Can You Ever Forgive Me? tells the heartbreaking true story of a lonely, cat-loving, hard-boozing outcast; Sew the Winter to My Skin explores the story of the South African Robin Hood legend and stock thief; a mother senses that an evil, possibly supernatural force has overtaken her son in the horror The Prodigy; and Holmes & Watson is a unique and comic take on the world's greatest detective.

Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Melissa McCarthy delivers an outstanding performance as Lee Israel, the best-selling celebrity biographer (and cat lover) who made her living in the 1970s and 1980s profiling the likes of Katherine Hepburn, Tallulah Bankhead, Estee Lauder and journalist Dorothy Kilgallen. When Lee found herself unable to get published because she had fallen out of step with the marketplace, she turned her art form to deception, abetted by her loyal friend Jack – an equally brilliant performance by Richard E Grant.

Beneath Israel’s felonious capers lies a more personal story – that of a lonely, cat-loving, hard-boozing outcast whose life grew more exciting with every person she tricked. Israel, inspired with a reverence for the literary rascals she was imitating, played the forgery game with a sense of style. By finding success in the marketplace with her flawless forgeries, Israel finally gained validation for her own eccentric passions, even if the most rapt attention she garnered was from the FBI. But when her business grew too hot for her to handle alone, she brought an accomplice into her scheme, the larcenous street hustler Jack Hock. Ever the loner, Lee had to learn how to share her life with another person.

Acclaimed filmmaker Marielle Heller – along with a large crew of female collaborators including producers Anne Carey and Amy Nauiokas, screenwriter Nicole Holofcener, editor Anne McCabe and many other below the line talent – brings Israel’s unexpected and at times surprisingly moving story to the screen.

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Sew The Winter To My Skin

A cinematic period tale of indigenous outlaw John Kepe (Ezra Mabengeza), Sew the Winter to My Skin explores the story of the Robin Hood legend and stock thief who, from the 1920s to the 1950s, is said to have stolen livestock and supplies from rich white people and given to the poor, indigenous people of the Karoo. The film, a South African Western-style epic, is set in a time when apartheid was being written into law and Afrikaner nationalism was rising.

This self-proclaimed “Samson of the Boschberg” inevitably became a political threat to the very fabric of the ruling colonial society. Written and directed by Jahmil XT Qubek.  

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The Prodigy

Taylor Schilling plays a mother whose young son’s disturbing behaviour signals that an evil, possibly supernatural force has overtaken him. Fearing for her family’s safety, Sarah must choose between her maternal instinct to love and protect Miles and a desperate need to investigate what – or who – is causing his dark turn. She is forced to look for answers in the past, taking the audience on a wild ride; one where the line between perception and reality becomes frighteningly blurry.

The Prodigy is directed by genre auteur Nicholas McCarthy and written by master horror scribe Jeff Buhler, who also serves as an executive producer. 

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Holmes & Watson

Will Ferrell and John C Reilly – the legendary duo from Step Brothers and Talladega Nights – reunite in Holmes & Watson, a unique and comic take on the world’s greatest detective, Sherlock Holmes, and his faithful companion, Dr John Watson.

The Ferrell-Reilly reunion reaches new heights of mayhem, madness and mirth in Holmes & Watson, written and directed by Etan Cohen.

The game is afoot or “a going” as Holmes proclaims, when a dead body is discovered in Holmes’ birthday cake at Buckingham Palace. It seems the perpetrator is their longtime nemesis, criminal mastermind Professor James Moriarty (Ralph Fiennes), but the famed sleuth has doubts. As their investigation uncovers one twist after another, Holmes and Watson face the greatest threat of their partnership. 

The master sleuth and his dependable partner must remain united to find the killer, save the Queen, and restore the reputation of the world’s greatest crime-solving duo – if the case doesn’t tear them apart first.

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About Daniel Dercksen

As a freelance film and theatre journalist for more than 30 years, published playwright and creator of the independent training initiative The Writing Studio, Daniel Dercksen has been a contributor for Lifestyle since 2012. Visit