Danny Collins

An aging rock star decides to change his life when he discovers a 40-year-old letter written to him by John Lennon.

Release Date: April 10, 2015
Writer: Dan Fogelman
Director: Dan Fogelman
Cast: Al Pacino, Annette Benning, Jennifer Garner, Bobby Cannavale, Christopher Plummer

Al Pacino plays Danny Collins, the aging rocker, who still manages to sell out stadiums across America. As famous as he has become, Collins is a man going through the motions on stage and finding solace in drugs and his very young fiancé. On his birthday, Collins’ manager Frank Grubman (Christoper Plummer) bring Danny a letter than John Lennon had sent to him before he became famous. The letter was never delivered to Collins and Grubman found it from a collector.

The Lennon letter is an instrument of irony. It was an encouragement to Collins to remain true to himself and soft-handed warning about the trappings of fame.  The letter prompts Collins to examine his life and where he is. It also prompts him to visit the son he never knew.

Collins take a trip from Los Angeles to New Jersey hoping to mend things with his son, Tom Donnelly (Bobby Cannavale), Tom’s wife, Samantha (Jennifer Garner) and his granddaughter, Hope (Giselle Eisenberg). Collins says at the local Hilton, where he meets and becomes smitten with the manager Mary (Annette Benning).

Danny Collins is a story of redemption. Can Danny make things right with the son he abandoned as a child. Considering he is the result of a one-night stand and never bothered to know his son because he just didn’t care. On the flipside, can Tom forgive the father, who never wanted to be his father. Can Tom allow himself to be the object of Danny’s redemption. Finally, will Danny Collins ever become the artist that John Lennon say 40 years ago.

Danny Collins is a story that’s been told before, but these stories never starred Al Pacino. Pacino brings Danny Collins to life as a celebrity famously known around the world. You root for him as a man who wants to change and fix the pain he’s caused in the past. You also root for him in hopes that he overcomes the demons of not only drugs, sex and rock-n-roll, but the demon of failure.

As his son Tom, Bobby Canevale holds his own against Pacino. He is not a victim of Danny’s apathy, but then again, he is. Tom also faces a struggle of him own and soon realizes how much he needed a father-figure in his life…better late than never.

Danny Collins, the movie, is no Dog Day Afternoon and Pacino’s portrayal of Collins is no Michael Corleon. But Danny Collins is a light, fun comedy that leaves you feeling good about the world in the end. As a veteran actor, Pacino is comfortable as Collins even to the point of singing his own songs. It’s clear the Pacino wanted to do a comedy as a challenge and he picked the right one from writer/director Dan Fogelman.

7 out of 10

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