2015 Dallas International Film Festival: Manglehorn
Left heartbroken by the woman he loved and lost forty years ago, an eccentric small-town locksmith (Al Pacino) tries to start his life over again with the help of a new friend (Holly Hunter), in David Gordon Green's Manglehorn.
A.J. Manglehorn is a storefront philosopher, toiling every day at his lock-and-key business, but consumed inside by memories of the great love he let slip through his fingers. That hope of love seems long in Manglehorn’s past, but in this magical portrait of a surprising man, there is room for second chances.
Green weaves humour and insight together to guide Pacino to one of his strongest performances in years. As much as Manglehorn claims not to like people, he leaves his mark on them. Although his aggressive, deal-making son (Chris Messina) resents his father, he can’t help but seek him out. The long-maned bank teller he visits — played by the remarkable Holly Hunter — yearns for a date to match her romantic fantasies, but finds she must deal with Manglehorn’s peculiar perspectives.
As it grows from its quiet character-study beginnings to engage bigger questions of love and human connection, Manglehorn finds moments of pure poetry. This humble locksmith’s daydreams have a surreal quality. We see life through the lens of his experience, tinged by a hard-won wisdom that’s equal parts pragmatism and whimsy. It’s a generous view that’s deeply satisfying to watch. Combine that with an electric supporting performance by filmmaker Harmony Korine, and the pleasure of watching Pacino and Hunter perform together, and you’re left with a completely original experience.