Dan Fogelman, the man who brought us CARS, TANGLED and CRAZY STUPID LOVE, writes and directs the real-life excerpt ~ well sort of ~ of British Folk Singer Steve Tilden’s life, with his latest film ~ DANNY COLLINS.

Performing his way through life for about 40 years now, Danny Collins (Al Pacino), is still entertaining, but wishing he were somewhere, anywhere, doing anything else.

When his manager and best-friend Frank (Christopher Plummer) presents him with a letter that was written to him by JOHN LENNON after an interview he did for a music magazine many years ago ~ Danny is taken back at finally seeing the letter, and the message that John shared with him.

Moved by the fact that Lennon “the legend” had reached out to him, Danny begins to question, “What would his life have been like if he HAD received that letter when it was actually sent?”

Danny decides to refocus on his song writing, when he happens upon Mary Sinclair (Annette Bening) the manager of the hotel where he is staying, and feels that she just might be the perfect inspiration for both his personal and professional life.

Danny also decides there is no better time than the present to become the father he should have been, so he decides to contact his son Tom (Bobby Cannavale). Not too excited to see Danny on her doorstep, Tom’s wife Samantha (Jennifer Garner) isn’t sure how to respond to Danny and his attempt to see her husband.

When Tom is just as thrilled as Samantha by his father’s arrival, Danny tries to convince him that he really wants to make things right, not just for himself, but for Tom and his beautiful little girl Hope (Giselle Eisenberg) too.

Will Danny’s life after receiving his letter from Lennon be his destiny? Will Danny be able to write that hit song that has escaped him his whole career? And will he be able to make good on being a father to his son, and makes things right for his family too?

I give DANNY COLLINS a B: I couldn’t wait to see this film, as I have always loved Pacino and his work. And the fact that he was cast with other superb actors, like Plummer, Bening and Cannavale, made me want to see it even more. And I am here to tell you it did not disappoint! The “semi-real” story of English Folk Singer Steve Tilden, intertwined with the ROCK STAR image and family troubles in the life of movie character DANNY COLLINS, made for one enjoyable frame after another. Pacino seemed to be channeling a little Neal Diamond and/or Wayne Newton to me, even though in articles I read he said it was more like Barry Manilow and Rod Stewart to him, but seeing him sing and sway, and making all of his “gray-haired groupies” happy along the way, was a real treat. And the dramatic dynamic of his relationship with his son played out very charming too. If you love heart-warming movies that put a smile on your face, or just want to see a film that brings the love of music and family together just for a little while, then you have to go check out DANNY COLLINS this weekend at a theater near you.

Kathy Kaiser

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