Starring: Al Pacino, Annette Bening, Bobby Cannavale, Jennifer Garner, Christopher Plummer, Josh Peck, Melissa Benoist, Nick Offerman
Directed By: Dan Fogelman
It can’t possibly be Al Pacino’s best work ever, or his best film. You just have to know that going into this film. And, lets be honest, it’s opening in the spring. If it truly believed it was an awards contender, would it open in the spring? Probably not. But, I actually enjoyed Danny Collins. I enjoyed Pacino, and Bening, and Cannavale. I thought the film was well directed, well acted, and a surprisingly good time at the theatre. Does it reinvent the wheel? No. It’s pretty formulaic, but it’s a good formula.
Pacino plays an aging pop singer who realizes all the work he’s done has been crap when he finally gets a letter that John Lennon had written him, but he never received. So he goes off on a journey of self discovery in an attempt to figure out what went wrong with his life. One of the big things is connecting with his son that he’s never met, and is now a full grown man, with a wife, and a daughter. And, of course, the son has a secret of his own.
Pacino is great, as always. I remember reviewing Stand Up Guys and saying that at least the cast made the film watchable. Pacino in almost every role is worth watching. There are a few films (Jack and Jill comes to mind) that he can’t save, but for the most part, when he puts in effort, he’s always worth watching. Annette Bening is good, but her part isn’t really showy. The other standout here is Cannavale, who shines as a son struggling with a range of mixed emotions, all the while trying to hold his family together and be a good dad. The kind of dad his father wasn’t.
2015 hasn’t been a banner year for films yet, from what I’ve seen, so I definitely say go see Danny Collins. It’s probably better than most of the other films playing.
FINAL GRADE: A