Film review: Danny Collins (15, 106 mins)

Danny Collins: PA Photo/Hopper Stone/Entertainment One
Danny Collins: PA Photo/Hopper Stone/Entertainment One
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Pacino hits all right notes in tale of musical integrity

A caption at the beginning of writer-director Dan Fogelman’s cliche-riddled yet uproarious comedy reveals there is a germ of fact buried beneath the tears and cloying sentiment.

“The following is kind of based on a true story. A little bit.”

The seed of Fogelman’s script was British folk singer Steve Tilston, who received a supportive fan letter from John Lennon, more than 25 years after the death of the former Beatle.

The handwritten missive, penned in 1971, advised the then 21-year-old Tilston to cling to his dreams because “being rich doesn’t change your experience in the way you think”.

Fogelman repurposes this cruel twist of fate as the catalyst for an ageing singer-songwriter’s belated redemption in Danny Collins.

Tales of triumph against musical adversity litter the Hollywood hills and are warmly received by Oscar voters, most recently in 2009 when Jeff Bridges won a golden statuette for his portrayal of a fading country music star.

Al Pacino delivers a similarly show-stopping turn as the irascible showman of the title, who sacrificed his artistic integrity years ago.


Star rating: 6/10