Al Pacino is brilliant.
It's a predictable story that plucks at your heart-strings. The best part is the sharp dialog delivered by Al Pacino, who hasn't lost his charm at all. And you will love every furrow on his brow, every wrinkle on his face. And there's Christopher Plummer too...
Al Pacino has always had those soulful eyes, whether they were framed by his beard in Serpico or by steel when he played Micheal Corleone. The fire in those eyes may have been concealed when he played the blind Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade in The Scent Of A Woman, but you can see it in his walk. And in this movie too, you'll see that same seductive walk, that bright spark in his eyes... And character in every furrow on his handsome forehead and every wrinkle that frames his eye.
The story is All American: A dad who will do almost anything for his family. Except that his family does not want any part of his boozing, drug riddled life. And why is he so determined to make up with his family? Because... Wait for it... Because...And this is what makes him so vulnerable and so wonderful... Because John Lennon tells him just that, in a letter that reaches him 40 years too late.
The story is how he charms his way into their hearts (and confirm his place in ours).
If you've seen one 'prodigal returns' concept in a movie, you have seen them all. But you haven't seen the love for his family in Danny Collins' eyes and you haven't empathised with a drug-addled, boozing old guy with a 20 something old squeeze, and you haven't laughed with the two old guys - Al Pacino and Christopher Plummer - about their problems since they stopped making Grumpy Old Men.
Now Christopher Plummer shows up delivering very wonderfully written dialog, and like I said before, Al Pacino simply charms birds off trees with his sometimes self-deprecating, sometimes boastful dialog. The prodigal returns concept does offer predictable set pieces. But the writers make you want the old guy to win.
There's also a little girl in his family. Now whether it is Bollywood or Hollywood, kids tend to be so annoying, you want them to be shipped off to North Korea. But this little girl and her ways win you over within three minutes of her screen time.
This one might be a spoiler, but do not, do not miss out on watching Danny's realisation that he will have to postpone singing his new song and put on a show which he has come to hate. No one but an actor of the caliber of Al Pacino could have pulled it off. You feel exactly how he feels. You feel exactly how Christopher Plummer feels. You feel exactly how Annette Benning feels. You feel. And movies like this one you know can watch whenever they show up on TV again.
With this movie, it looks like Hollywood is ready to offer stupendous roles to Grandpas who are still sexy and charming and when it comes to emoting, can beat the pants off any of the young beefed up boys we watch today.
It's a PVR Rare release, so you will have to look out for timings and maybe travel to a theater across town to watch this movie. But trust me, you will come back with a lump in your throat and might just call up dad and make peace with him again.