Yesterday I went and saw Danny Collins. The story is based EXTREMELY loosely on a real-life incident where a letter from the late John Lennon finally found itself into the hands of its intended recipient, albeit forty years late. In real life, that recipient was folk singer Steve Tilston, but in the movie the recipient is fictitious rock star Danny Collins (played by Al Pacino) who, although still packing out concert venues, is somewhat jaded from a brutal life of relentless fame, fortune, drink, drugs, fast cars and scantily clad women less-than-half his age.
Then his manager gives him the letter from Lennon (written in response to an interview Collins gave right back at the start of his career) as a birthday gift, which sets our Danny off on a quest of re-discovery, and to set things right with his estranged son. Along the way he meets slightly frosty hotel manager Annette Bening – as well as a granddaughter he never knew he had.
It’s an interesting movie. Beautifully acted (as you’d expect from such a strong cast), and on the whole I thoroughly enjoyed it – although about three quarters of the way in, the film did seem to be struggling to spin all its plates; was this a cautionary tale about the nature of fame? A romantic comedy about a rock star and a slightly conservative hotelier? Or perhaps a movie about a rock-star come-back? Or maybe it was something else entirely? Ultimately it didn’t seem able to make up its mind and the film just kind of …ended, with Danny pretty much the same person he was at the start of the movie, and me feeling just the tiniest bit let down.
But maybe I got it all wrong. Would love to know what you think.
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The film will be along some time in the next decade.