Well, maybe I jumped the gun by saying The Water Diviner was the best film of the year. Or maybe I should have said best film so far - the year is young.
OK - today's best film is Danny Collins. Al Pacino plays the title role of an aging rock star who decides to change his life upon getting a personal letter from John Lennon - 40 years after it is was orginally sent. The plot seems predictable, but just like Danny Collins himself - nothing is really predictable. The cast is deep with Jennifer Garner, Annette Bening, and Christopher Plummer among the actors.
Danny's early years when he was writing his own songs were very successful. The following decades when he was singing other people's music and playing sold out shows were extremely successful. However, the much delayed receipt of Lennon's letter asks the question, what could have been if he had received the letter when it was mailed, taken the advice, and stayed true to himself writing his own music.
Pacino plays Collins very well. His role here reminds me of his Oscar winning performance in Scent of a Woman - a man with a mission intent on carrying it out despite the obstacles everyone wants to put in his way. Only in Danny Collins' case, the mission is slightly fluid and goal is to find himself in the end. Pacino is able to balance the ego of an aging rock star with someone trying to find what is left of his life. Collins tries hard to mend bridges, create a new image, and find himself. But fame, fortune, and the expectations of others make it very hard to do.
The one weak part of the movie - if there was one - was Annette Bening. She was not the best actor to be cast in her role as the hotel manager who Collins becomes interested in. Bening is extremely talented but this role was not for her. Everytime she came into a scene, it was a stretch for her to fit the character.
Christopher Plummer plays Collins' agent/best friend. It is a role he could do in his sleep and does like a well cut suit. Jennifer Garner plays Collins' daughter-in-law and does the part very well as she normally does.
The film never drags. The story flows. The screen play is well written. It is funny, it is sad, it is serious. Overall it is a very good movie that so far has not gotten as much good press as I think it deserves.
Go see it, it will be 106 minutes well spent.