DANNY COLLINS (15)
DANNY COLLINS (15)
Run time: 106mins
Director: Dan Fogelman
Cast: Al Pacino, Jennifer Garner, Annette Bening, Bobby Cannavale, Christopher Plummer, Giselle Eisenberg
Synopsis: The famous musician Danny Collins, who long ago abandoned his artistic integrity, questions his life choices after his manager Frank Grubman gives Danny a letter written to him by his idol John Lennon, a treasure that has been lost for over four decades. Inspired by its contents, Danny seeks to reconnect with his inspiration for song-writing and travels cross-country to meet Tom, the adult son he’s never known. As he prepares to compose new material for the first time in decades, the reformed hedonist faces opposition from Tom and his wife Samantha, who resent his intrusive attempts to forge a family reunion.
Al Pacino sizzles and even sings in this directorial debut from Dan Fogelman (writer of Last Vegas, 2013) who has also written the script.
Pacino plays an aging rocker, Danny Collins who tries to clean up his act, abandon the drugs and young girlfriend and rediscover his creativity. He plans to reconnect with his adult son after his manager, Frank (the superb Christopher Plummer) presents him with a long lost letter from his idol, John Lennon, as a forty year anniversary gift. This sets Danny off on a journey of self-discovery, as he abandons his tour and the renderings of his big hit, Baby Doll – an irresistible tune, guaranteed to become an earworm. He crosses the country from LA and checks in Alan Partridge style to a well-known New Jersey chain hotel where he flirts outrageously with manager Mary (Annette Bening).
It’s a rockier road as Danny tries to charm and establish relationships with his hostile adult son Tom (an ever convincing Bobby Cannavale) and his pregnant wife Samantha (Jennifer Garner) and their ADHD afflicted daughter Sophie (Giselle Eisenberg).
There is great warmth in this comedy with a heartfelt message of living your life as best you can at any age. While Pacino as a larger-than-life Collins is always the centre of attention, the ensemble cast excel, and John Lennon fans are in for a treat with his songs liberally sprinkled throughout the film, underlining the action.
A coda to Danny Collins recounts the incident that the film is loosely based on, when in 2005 little known early 70s UK folk singer Steve Tilson discovered that John Lennon had written him a letter in 1971 which he never received.
Images courtesy of Entertainment One UK