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Danny Collins


Stars: Al Pacino, Annette Bening, Bobby Cannavale, Jennifer Garner, Christopher Plummer, Melissa Benoist, Katarina Cas, Josh Peck

Director: Dan Fogelman

A delightful, tour-de-force performance by Pacino in his lightest vein sparks this warm-hearted 'redemption' story ('inspired' by a true event) with the star very convincing and charismatic as a near burnt-out rock star, disillusioned with ageing audiences who just want to hear the same old material.

At 65, Danny Collins still has all the trappings of rock stardom: a glamorous blonde girlfriend (Benoist), cocaine that he keeps in the cross round his neck, a mansion, a devoted if rasp-tongued manager (Plummer) and an endless supply of whisky: Danny's been there, done it all.

Then his agent gives him a present - a 1971 letter from John Lennon (whose music permeates the film) that he never received. On the spot, Danny decides to change his lifestyle. He takes himself and his piano to a country hotel to write more mellow material, is strongly attracted to the manager there (a winning performance by Bening) and tries to re-connect with the son (Cannavale), daughter-in-law (Garner) and granddaughter (the enchanting Giselle Eisenberg) he has never seen.

They want nothing to do with him. But the little girl is hyper-active and needs a special school... Danny offers financial help. 'I know I'll still go to Hell,' he tells them, 'cos you can't buy redemption. But give me one day and then I'm gone.'

Things aren't that straightforward, though and, like Danny, the film does lose its way a bit towards the end, but it's a pleasure to be with a movie so entertaining almost throughout and with such personable, laidback performances at its heart.

David Quinlan

USA 2014. UK Distributor: EntertainmentOne. Technicolor.
106 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 2, Swearing 2.

Review date: 25 May 2015