Movie Review - Manglehorn

I'm not sure this film needed to be longer, but overall the hour-and-a-half spent felt like an introduction or two-acts of what's usually three acts. Yet, it's too simplistic to say this film has no third act. It's not dependent on plot, so arguably a third act is not necessary. The strength of a character can be propulsive all by himself, but some characters need a plot. Otherwise, the movie can feel like it's wallowing or spinning. That's what felt like happened here.

Oscar-winner Al Pacino (Scent of a Woman and The Godfather) stars as Manglehorn, an elderly man who is a locksmith in Texas. He has an adult son, but he lives alone with his cat. He tries to have a relationship with his son, but there is some tension. Manglehorn has his shop. He also has his van, which he takes out all the time to help people who are locked out either their car or home. He develops feelings for a bank teller where he does all his banking.

Oscar-winner Holly Hunter (The Piano and Broadcast News) co-stars as Dawn, the bank teller who goes out on a date with Manglehorn. The date is awkward and doesn't go well. Not much is learned about her. She's a nice presence, but the movie makes very little use of her, criminally so.

Chris Messina (Julie & Julia and Vicky Cristina Barcelona) plays Jacob, the adult son of Manglehorn. He's either a stock broker or works at an investment company in some capacity. He's doing very well, far better financially than his father. Jacob is living practically in the lap of luxury, while his father is living in filth. Messina gets a great scene with Pacino, but ultimately Messina is criminally under-used too.

A problem with Jacob is never resolved. The awkward date with Dawn is never resolved. There are a lot of loose threads here. The only thing that's resolved is Manglehorn's cat who gets a plot involving its health and needing surgery, and writer Paul Logan's screenplay makes more bones about that than the two incredible, supporting actors.

Two Stars out of Five.
Rated PG-13 on appeal for some sexual content and language, and for surgery images.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 37 mins.


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