A.J. Manglehorn has a ridiculous name and a ridiculous obsession with lost-love Clara; like Bellow’s Herzog, the ageing recluse has an unfortunate habit of writing never-delivered letters. Thankfully, a subdued Pacino finds lots to do with an otherwise fairly straightforward part.
Green’s style, as ever, is intermittently interesting, but little of note pulls the film together save a couple of long and well-performed scenes – Hunter and Messina don’t have enough to do, but make the most.
The ultimate problem is familiarity, which is a shame; with such fine characters to flesh out, the actors should soar. Instead, they are mired.
Manglehorn himself is loveable; less so the film. Largely pleasant, but never much more, the writing and direction are rarely as thoughtful as Pacino’s solid performance – an inessential vehicle.
CAST: Al Pacino, Holly Hunter, Harmony Korine, Chris Messina
DIRECTOR: David Gordon Green
WRITER: Paul Logan
SYNOPSIS: Left heartbroken by the woman he loved and lost many years ago, A.J. Manglehorn (Pacino), an eccentric small-town locksmith, tries to start his life over again with the help of a new friend.