12 July 2015 | CleveMan66
"Manglehorn" is enjoyable mainly as an actor's showcase.
"'tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all." So wrote Victorian British Poet Laureate Alfred Lord Tennyson. People can debate the validity of Tennyson's words, but most who see "Manglehorn" (PG-13, 1:37) would probably agree to add "
unless you let the memory of that lost love consume you and make you practically unlovable by anyone else" (stated more poetically, of course).
Al Pacino stars as the title character, a reclusive locksmith in a small Texas town. He pines for a long lost love named Clara, to whom he constantly writes letters, only to see them returned to his mailbox unopened. Manglehorn lives alone in a modest house with his only real friend, an old long-haired white cat named Fanny. One of the townsfolk by the name of Gary (Harmony Korine), whose little league baseball team Manglehorn used to coach, still idolizes the old man, but Gary is kind of a mess himself and Manglehorn doesn't want to be bothered anyway. He has an adult son (with a woman whom he claims he never loved) but he only sees Jacob (Chris Messina) on occasion. Jacob is a wealthy commodities broker who is a bit of a jerk (kind of like his dad can be), but Jacob has a young daughter on whom grandpa Manglehorn dotes. A friendly bank teller (Holly Hunter) shows interest in Manglehorn as more than just another customer, but she finds out that he really isn't an easy man to love.
"Manglehorn" is enjoyable mainly as an actor's showcase. There isn't much of a plot, but, as we see Manglehorn drift through his virtually joyless life, we are reminded what a great actor Al Pacino is. Messina is also outstanding and it's a joy to see Hunter back on the big screen, especially when she makes such great use of her limited screen time. The movie itself is kind of dull and Pacino makes Manglehorn so unlikeable at times that you almost stop caring about him. Almost. It's a testament to Pacino's talent that, even as his character pushes away almost everyone in his life, the actor keeps showing us just enough of his character's positive qualities for us to remain sympathetic. To see Pacino play an aging father with regrets, "Danny Collins" is a much more entertaining film, but rarely has Pacino played a character more effectively than in "Manglehorn". "C+"