Danny Collins (2015) - Rotten Tomatoes

Danny Collins (2015)



Critic Consensus: Thanks to Al Pacino's stirring central performance - and excellent work from an esteemed supporting cast -- Danny Collins manages to overcome its more predictable and heavy-handed moments to deliver a heartfelt tale of redemption.

Movie Info

Al Pacino stars as aging 1970s rocker Danny Collins, who can't give up his hard-living ways. But when his manager (Christopher Plummer) uncovers a 40 year-old undelivered letter written to him by John Lennon, he decides to change course and embarks on a heartfelt journey to rediscover his family, find true love and begin a second act. -- (C) Bleecker Street Mediamore
Rating: R (for language, drug use and some nudity)
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Dan Fogelman
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jun 30, 2015
Bleecker Street Films - Official Site


Al Pacino
as Danny Collins
Annette Bening
as Mary Sinclair
Jennifer Garner
as Samantha Leigh Donne...
Bobby Cannavale
as Tom Donnelly
Christopher Plummer
as Frank Grubman
Giselle Eisenberg
as Hope Donnelly
Josh Peck
as Nicky Ernst
Scott Lawrence
as Dr. Ryan Kurz
Nick Offerman
as Guy DeLoach
Eric Schneider
as Young Danny Collins
Davide Donatiello
as Young Danny Collins
Eric Lange
as Dr. Silverman
Joshua Sternlicht
as Josh the Bartender
Tim Jo
as Tim
Hiroshi Morotomi
as Autograph Seeker
Margy Stein
as Hotel Bar Patron
Hiroshi Moroto
as Autograph Seeker
Eric Daniel Newnham
as Hotel Bar Patron
Francine Levinson
as Night Club Fan
Hal Alpert
as Night Club Fan
Henri C. Wittelsohn
as Night Club Fan
Patrick Kudej
as Chime in Magazine In...
Carmel Echols
as Danny's Background S...
Judith Hill
as Danny's Background S...
Kari Kimmel
as Danny's Background S...
Don Was
as Danny's Band
C.J. Vanston
as Danny's Band
Kenny Aronoff
as Danny's Band
Tim Pierce
as Danny's Band
Mindi Abair
as Danny's Band
Bill Cantos
as Danny's Band
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Danny Collins

Critic Reviews for Danny Collins

All Critics (116) | Top Critics (35)

A tearjerker with its own jerk.

Full Review… | November 12, 2015

Pacino delivers his best turn in a very long time, hiding the fact that he can't even carry a tune behind a magnetic presence that screams "star".

Full Review… | October 16, 2015
Matt's Movie Reviews

Al Pacino delivers a master class in acting. [Full review in Spanish]

Full Review… | August 26, 2015
Blog de cine

What could have been a cheap piece of hackwork becomes a pleasing little trifle, thanks to its actors.

Full Review… | August 14, 2015
Fort Worth Weekly

An above average drama with good dialogue, great characters and even better performances. [Full review in Spanish]

Full Review… | August 5, 2015
Cine Vértigo

The scenes between Pacino and Holly Hunter's character are the best parts of the movie. [Full review in Spanish]

Full Review… | August 4, 2015

Audience Reviews for Danny Collins

A real crowd-pleaser. A beautifully crafted and handsomely performed film. Al Pacino gives one of his best performances in years. A true star in top form delivering humor and charm.

Al S

Super Reviewer

This closed the 2015 Cleveland International Film Festival. It was too long and not very exciting. All the early buzz about Pacino's come-back star turn was exaggerated. First time director Dan Fogelman, who has written four animated screenplays, seems to like his comedy and drama to be like a caricature. The closing credits tell us this is based on a true story of a not very well known aging rock star who discovers John Lennon sent him an inspirational letter 40 years ago. Could his life have been different if he had known? Could he have avoided the empty life of sex, drugs, and booze, and instead continued to be relevant artistically?? These questions are so bluntly obvious and convince Al Pacino's Danny Collins to try to be a better person in the here and now. Much of the comedy, which I found uninspired, stems from Danny's addiction to luxury and being a fish out of water in small town America. Even though he suddenly doesn't want to be the sell-out artist performing his one big hit song to sold out houses of retired groupies that have funded his extravagant lifestyle, he still throws cash around to prove his fame and success. There is a subplot in which he tries to woo the hotel manager played by Annette Bening. Of course, she is still nearly 20 years his junior. Then a large part of the plot that is supposed to demonstrate that Danny Collins is a better person than his rockstar lifestyle would suggest involves Danny trying to reconnect with his grown son played by Bobby Cannavale, the son's wife played by Jennifer Garner, and their daughter played by Giselle Eisenberg. Cannavale and Garner's characters get to the heart of the matter pretty quickly. Giselle Eisenberg plays Hope as a child loudly shoving ADHD in our faces, which was irritating rather than adorable. Father and son have some good scenes together, but again the emotions mostly felt like caricature in the Scent of a Woman, "hoo-wah!" vein. Pacino is also not very convincing as a singer who can hold a crowd's attention.

Byron Brubaker

Super Reviewer


LOVE ON THE ROCKS (Of Cocaine) - My Review of DANNY COLLINS ( 3 1/2 Stars)

DANNY COLLINS operates on the odd premise of an aging rock star (Al Pacino) receiving a long lost, inspirational letter from John Lennon, which sends him on a quest to discover the true value of his life. Dan Fogelman, the talented writer of CRAZY, STUPID LOVE and TANGLED, makes his directorial debut here with this fairly standard yet beautifully spirited and wonderfully acted film.

The film starts in 1971 as a magazine interviewer (Nick Offerman, whose laugh is the first of this film's many delights) sits down with a young Collins to inform him that he's about to become a superstar with the writing ability of John Lennon. This sequence is highly reminiscent of ALMOST FAMOUS, and this won't be the only Cameron Crowe reference this film has to offer. Cut to modern day, and our title character is a coked-up, washed-out shell of his former self. He's not doing SCARFACE levels of the drug, but enough to threaten his health and ensure that he's going to Hell by keeping his stash inside his Crucifix. He's about to go onstage at the Greek Theatre to an adoring crowd of elderly, swaying post-Soccer Moms. Seeing older white people dancing is enough to send anyone spiraling, no? He performs his signature hit, "Hey Baby Doll", which sounds so close to Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" that a lawsuit surely must be pending! Pacino isn't believable for a second when singing and prancing awkwardly. Sure, the character is dead inside and has long ago lost his will to get up on a stage and thrill an audience, but most in his position know how to at least phone it in with some credibility. Still, it's the only stumble in some of the best work Pacino has done in years.

The first act deftly sets up Collins' extravagant life, his gorgeous house, circle of sycophants, and cheating girlfriend less than half his age. At his birthday party, there's a fantastic dolly shot past a long row of aging men ogling some sexy women frolicking in a pool. Collins' longtime manager, a hilarious Christopher Plummer, gifts him with the aforementioned letter, forcing Collins to reexamine his life and seek out the son he's never met. Bobby Cannavale, in the most soulful performance of his career, plays his son, who harbors deep resentment and faces some tough obstacles of his own as he raises his bouncing-off-the-walls daughter (a terrific Giselle Eisenberg) with his stern but supportive wife (a nicely grounded performance by Jennifer Garner). Sure, this is a redemption story as old as time, but what makes this movie sing is its wit, energy and chemistry-infused patter.

Holing up in a Jersey Hilton, Collins delights the young staff, played with sweet guilelessness by Josh Peck (THE WACKNESS) and Melissa Benoist (GLEE) while he woos Mary, the Hotel Manager, played with considerable Midwest charm by Annette Bening. Refusing to drink Collins' Kool-Aid, Mary clearly enjoys sparring with Danny but has the good sense to spurn his advances. Pacino and Bening are so good together, he with his creepy, animated come-ons and she with her Waspy rigidity offset by the most beguiling smiles she's ever attempted on film. I grew to love Mary, the buttoned-up professional, right alongside Danny, fully understanding why she is such a prize. She almost single-handedly manages to wake up a narcissist and find the genuine, hurting person underneath.

The lion's share of Danny's wake-up call, however, belongs to his interactions with his son, Tom. While most of the cast contributes to the comedy, Cannavale grounds this film with his bruised, angry, and understandably damaged character. Without Tom, Danny would be a laughable buffoon. Danny, perhaps woken up by John Lennon, or maybe he merely wants to tap into the good person deeply buried within, finds the ache in wanting to connect with his boy. The silent moments of this pair, especially when huddled close, are some of the most lovely, perfectly calibrated moments of closeness I've seen in a film so far this year. That the stunning final scene finds a reference in SAY ANYTHING only adds to its appeal. Sure, this is the type of film rarely attempted anymore, a family drama where the stakes are seemingly low, but DANNY COLLINS finds warmth and true kindness on its somewhat silly journey. It's not a feat of exceptional visual filmmaking, but it has characters you would die for, and a real beating heart. That's nothing to sniff (or snort) at, right?

Glenn Gaylord
Glenn Gaylord

Super Reviewer

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