Movie Review: Danny Collins


Starring: Al Pacino, Jennifer Garner, Annette Bening, Christopher Plummer and Bobby Cannavale

Directed by: Dan Fogelman

Release Date: March 18, 2015

Danny Collins is a quaint film that explores second chances. It is a film that wasn’t given that most publicity during its original release date and only made $7 million worldwide which is considered a colossal flop. But unlike most flops in Hollywood this movie was actually good. It was brilliantly written and directed by Dan Fogelman who was very sincere in his development of the characters. This movie deserves to be seen by the masses.

The movie begins with aging rock star Danny Collins (Al Pacino) singing one of his hits from 40 years ago for a sold out stadium of fans. Collins’ moves are slower and his voice isn’t what it used to be but the crowd still loves him. He is still living the rock star lifestyle of alcohol, drugs and women and it is beginning to take its toll. While having a conversation with his manager Frank (Christopher Plummer) Danny discovers that his live in girlfriend Sophie (Katarina Cas) is planning on throwing him a surprise birthday party which he despises but ultimately attends. While at the party Frank gives Danny a letter that John Lennon wrote him 4o years ago which changes his perspective about life.

The next day Danny packs his bags, kicks Sophie (because she was cheating on him) and her lover Judd (Brian Thomas Smith) out of his mansion and leaves for New Jersey. Once there Danny checks into a Hilton hotel and tells the desk clerk to book him a room indefinitely. After settling in Danny finds his estranged son’s (Tom/Bobby Cannavale) home and meets for the first time his wife Samantha (Jennifer Garner) and his daughter Hope (Giselle Eisenberg). The meeting between the three is uncomfortable to say the least. Hope has ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and Samantha is six months pregnant and Danny begins to wonder what he’s gotten himself into. A few minutes later his son Tom, who he’s never seen before, comes home from work and the two have a very heated exchange with Tom asking Danny to stay away from him and his family.

After feeling rejected Danny goes back to the hotel and drowns his sorrows in a bottle of booze and begins conversing with the hotel’s manager Mary (Annette Bening). The two become fast friends and Mary leaves Danny with some solid advice which is to not give up on his family upon which he doesn’t. The next day Danny arranges for Hope to attend a special needs school so that she can get the type of helps she needs. While warming up to his father, Tom tells Danny that he has a rare type of cancer that may or may not be treatable. Danny tells Tom that he knows he can’t make up for the past but to allow him to help him upon which Tom does. Afterwards Danny begins taking Tom to his cancer treatment appointments and the two begin to inch closer and closer to what a real father/son relationship should be.

While helping Tom, Danny begins to write new songs which he hadn’t done in over 30 years. He then tells his manager Frank to arrange a “gig” where he can play his new music to his fans. Unfortunately, Danny’s fans only wanted to hear his old music which breaks his heart and sends him in a tailspin where he reverts back to his old friends, drugs and alcohol.  After sobering up, Danny realizes his reversion back to his old demons were wrong so he leaves the hotel and goes to comfort Tom who was receiving his medical results to determine if his cancer was in remission.

This was a very passionate and caring movie. It showed how with all of Danny’s demons (drugs, alcohol, women) he still had a good heart. Danny Collins receives 8 stars out of 10 stars.