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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Changing His Tune
by Betty Jo Tucker

For Al Pacino, 2015 has been a very good year so far. His impressive performances in Manglehorn and Danny Collins surprised and delighted me. He nails both characters and made me care what happens to them despite the many mistakes they’ve made in the past. Manglehorn’s destructive obsession and Danny Collins’ relentless search for redemption seem so real because of Pacino’s ability to get inside each man’s heart and soul.

My review of Manglehorn was posted earlier and included a poem, so I think Danny Collins also deserves one.  

Danny Collins has earned great fame.

He’s a rock star. Yes, that’s his game.

He sings old songs to please old fans,

But now he wants to change his plans.


So unhappy with his lifestyle,

he needs something to make him smile.

He wants to find his adult son

and right the wrongs he knows he’s done.


He yearns to write much better songs

and be with folks where he belongs.

Can Danny stop his booze and drugs?

Will changes come as well as hugs?


Al Pacino stars in this part

and gives it depth as well as heart.

Annette Bening adds welcome class.

She’s his new muse with lots of sass.


All players do just as they’re told

 to bring viewers into the fold.

Redemption moves the story here

and makes us laugh and cry and cheer.

Writer Dan Fogelman (Tangled) chose Danny Collins as his directorial debut film. I think it was a wise choice. The story boasts an appealing combination of drama and comedy. I know it’s hard to imagine Pacino as a singer, but I smile just thinking about how well he pulls it off. Plus, Fogelman includes both humorous and serious dialogue in most scenes, which enhances the movie’s entertainment value. He also picked a wonderful supporting cast, including Bening,  Jennifer Garner, Bobby Cannavale and Christopher Plummer.

Bening (The Face of Love) and Pacino create a fun chemistry together. They seem to enjoy playing these two characters who are so different from each other. Bening portrays a businesslike hotel manager who can’t help being surprised that someone famous like Danny wants to spend time with her. The more they see each other, the more their feelings for one another grow -- even though serious problems stand in their way.

Cannavale (Adult Beginners) excels as Danny’s estranged son who wants nothing to do with his biological father. But Danny won’t give up. He’s fearless with efforts to establish a relationship with his son, his sweet daughter-in-law (Garner/Butter), and 7-year-old granddaughter (the darling Giselle Eisenberg/A Most Violent Year) who suffers from ADHD.

Icing on the cake is provided by the great Christopher Plummer (Beginners) as Danny’s caring manager who starts the ball rolling by giving Danny a letter written to him years ago by John Lennon. All this -- plus background music including some of Lennon’s memorable hits -- practically assures Danny Collins a spot on my Best Films of 2015 list.  

(Released by Bleecker Street Media and rated “R” for language, drug use and some nudity.)

For more information about Danny Collins, go to the IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes website.

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