Danny Collins (played by Al Pacino) has the world at his feet. His audience has aged with him and they’re still just as loyal as ever. They loved his songs in the 70’s and Danny became a huge pop star – and that’s all they want to hear now, so he delivers it for them, night after night. Danny’s lived the high life every day since his hey-day … heck, he can afford it, so why not? But he’s done it to the detriment of his personal life – after three failed marriages, the latest to blonde-bombshell Sophie (by Katarina Cas), his only real friend is his manager, Frank Grubman (by Christopher Plummer). Frank dutifully books big tours for Danny, his audiences attend in their droves and the money rolls in. Then one day, Frank reveals a 40 year old letter that John Lennon wrote to Danny, which was unknown until a few months ago. This sparks a need in Danny to seek out his estranged family and try to make amends for decisions he made in his life – perhaps also to discover who Danny Collins really is?
This is a sweet movie – made more so because it’s based on a true story … well sort of, it’s actually about a letter to Steve Tilston. But the audience is clear about that from the outset – in a nod to the Cohen Brothers’ way of opening a movie. I found it a bit bizarre to see Al Pacino in a singing role, but once I got over that I found the actual story very nice. As Danny Collins, Al Pacino is the right fit – a hard drinking, hard living, drug taking, rough-around-the-edges kind of guy with a warm heart. His manager, Frank Grubman is beautifully played by Christopher Plummer and the young Donnelly family – father Tom (by Bobby Cannavale), mother Samantha Leigh (by Jennifer Garner) and little Hope (by Giselle Eisenberg) are all great. The gem in the movie is Annette Bening – as the demure and straight-laced Mary Sinclair, the foil to Danny Collins’ garish persona, she is lovely. It’s not a block-buster, nor is it a deeply emotive drama, but it’s a nice movie.
Made in 2015. Directed by Dan Fogelman.