Danny Collins: Film Review – A family drama overshadowed by Al Pacino

Directed by Dan Fogelman, Danny Collins  is based on the life of an already famous singer , who changes his life when he receives a 40 something year old letter from John Lennon. The film stars Al Pacino as Danny Collins, who single-handely guides the entire film with the panache of Pacino and arrogance of a rockstar. The story is based on the life of Steve Tilston, a British folk-singer and songwriter who was appreciated via a letter from John Lennon, in 1971. The letter does not reach Tilston, but a collector  then tracks him down and gives it to him in 2014. Lennon read his interview in the ZigZag magazine after Tilstin felt being wealthy might take away his ability to write powerful songs.

After his birthday, Danny Collins is gifted Lennon’s letter by his best friend and manager Frank (Christopher Plummer). Collins, suddenly realizes that his life has changed from the young, thoughtful musician to someone who doesnt care of his estranged son. The son Tom (Bob Cannavale),  disapproves at first, but only  when Danny offers to take Hope, his ADHD grand-daughter to school does Bob and his wife Samantha (Jennifer Garner) approve.

The movie, centrally depicts the family struggles interlaced with humour. Al Pacino is reminiscent of his ‘Scent of a Woman’ role, never really able to keep himself or his family happy. His relationship with hotel manager Marie (Annette Bening) is neither romantic nor platonic, but is handled well by the director with jokes and song composition. Bob Cannavale holds his own against Pacino in the movie, playing a confused yet loving son and father in the film. Christopher Plummer is barely used in the film (mind you, he gave the gift) and Hope (Giselle Eisenberg) is excellent as an ADHD patient.



There are many flaws in the film, with the storyline hovering over only two-three places in particular. The second half is dragging, with the movie a painstakingly 104 minutes long. The movie begins on a high note, but fails to keep up with the pace in several places, thus setting up a routine storyline.

Why You Should Watch This Film ?

Watch this only for Al Pacino and his virtuoso performance as a drunk rockstar.

Shlomoh Samuel

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