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Danny Collins – Movie Review

Danny C

Danny Collins – Movie Review by Emily Elphinstone

Director: Dan Fogelman
Writer: Dan Fogelman (screenplay)
Stars: Al Pacino, Annette Bening, Jennifer Garner

The concept of an ageing rockstar seeking redemption is not an original one, nor is the struggle to reconnect with a long-lost son, and his pregnant wife. But the clichés of Danny Collins are approached by writer/director Dan Fogelman (writer of Crazy, Stupid, Love. and Cars) with such humour and charm, that it’s hard not to be sucked in.

Danny Collins is inspired (very loosely) by the true story of British folk singer Steve Tilston, who received a letter from John Lennon nearly 40 years after it was sent to him, following his comments about fame in an interview early in his career. However, the film frames this as a cautionary tale. Danny Collins has developed from up and coming singer/songwriter with the talent of John Lennon; to a perma-tanned crooner, stuck performing the same big hits (with echoes of Neil Diamond or Barry Manilow) to an ageing audience. When Danny receives the letter from Lennon, his empty cocaine and groupie filled world is rocked. Realising the error of his ways, he relocates to a business hotel in New Jersey, in the hopes of reconnecting with the son he’s never met.

Pacino plays Danny as a guy you like against your better judgement. He may be constantly trying to chat up the hotel manager (Annette Benning), or turning up outside his son’s suburban house in a tour bus emblazoned with his image; but he’s so darn charming, that he can get away with it.

The brilliant supporting cast do a lot in turning Danny Collins into something really engaging. Bobby Cannavale steals the show as Danny’s son Tom, a working class family man determined to be everything his father hasn’t been to him; and Christopher Plummer is perfectly cast as his long suffering friend and agent, Frank. Add to this the unprecedented access to many of John Lennon’s best loved songs for the soundtrack, almost making Lennon an unseen character; and you get a film that’s far more compelling than you may expect.

 

 

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