Danny Collins (2015) Film Review

Danny Collins

Danny Collins

Seeing as I am a huge Al Pacino fan, I had to watch this film as soon as I saw that it stars him, alongside Christopher Plummer, Jennifer Garner, Bobby Cannavale, and Annette Bening.    It has a rating of 7.3/10 on IMDb, which isn’t bad since many IMDb users can sometimes be quite critical.


This film, written and directed by Dan Folgeman, is based on the life of Singer- Songwriter, Steve Tilston.  The film begins with a young Collins (Eric Michael Roy) being interviewed by a writer (Nick Offerman) for a magazine.  Years later, set in 2005, we see an aging rock star Collins, speaking to his manager, played by the amazing Christopher Plummer.  This is when Collins finds out he was meant to have received a letter from John Lennon 35 years prior, just a few months after The Beatles broke up in December of 1970.  It has been confirmed that Lennon even included his phone number and the letter was signed, “Love, John and Yoko”.  The real letter is below:

Real letter tilston

After being notified of this huge news, his whole life changes.  He wants to change his ways and this leads him to reconnect with his estranged son (Bobby Cannavale), who he has never met.  He also meets his pregnant daughter-in-law played by Jennifer Garner and his granddaughter Hope, played by Giselle Eisenberg.  This is when the film starts veering off course of the “real life” events of Tilston but like most “dramedies”, that’s the way it goes.


DANNY COLLINS - 2015 FILM STILL - Giselle Eisenberg stars as “Hope Donnelly” and Jennifer Garner stars as “Samantha Leigh Donnelly” - Photo courtesy of Hopper Stone / Bleecker Street Danny Collins Productions, LLC

This film can pull at your heart strings if you allow it to.  For most of the movie, Pacino had me laughing at his rambunctiousness but because of the family aspect of it, there were a few times when my eyes teared up.  I don’t want to give anything away, but there was a twist I was not expecting about halfway through that drew me into the movie even more.  Every single actor was right where they should have been.  Eisenberg is adorable and she brings the whole Garner and Cannavale family together.  Bening does a great job as a side character and she does help bring in a few comedic relief moments.

I definitely recommend this movie.  To who?  Well, anyone who appreciates an “easy going”, “at least have it in the background”, “watch it just for Pacino if anything” kind of film.  Plus, it features music by John Lennon- so why not?

It definitely makes me wonder how I would have felt if I had known John Lennon had written a letter to me and I only received it years later when it was too late.  I like movies that make you reflect on your own life and pushes you to make changes if necessary and this is definitely one of those films.  At first, the end made me say “No.  Do not end it there.”  I’m not sure if it’s because I couldn’t believe it was actually over, or if it was because I wanted it to continue so I could see more.  Rethinking it though, it ended perfectly.  I am very pleased and grateful that I didn’t end up hating the entire film just because of the end.  *Sigh of relief*

If you want to see Steve Tilston, the one who inspired Danny Collins, here he is doing an interview at the premiere of the film.

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