“Manglehorn” (2014) – Review by Clay Boodworth

Manglehorn Pacino

‘Manglehorn’ enthralling and magical

David Gordon Green has always been a filmmaker whose work I admire and appreciate, with the majority of his dramatic films having a certain poetic quality that I’ve found fascinating. He invariably manages to surprise in the deep visual style of his movies, and perfectly challenges the audience in the best way possible when it comes to the story. “Manglehorn”, his most recent picture, being an ideal example. It’s a movie that really stuck with me. Even after having seen it for the first time a few weeks ago, I still find myself pondering over its subject (a person that is deeply wounded emotionally).

This main character, an older Texas locksmith who lives a relatively lonely existence (Al Pacino), is constantly pained by a past love of his. He spends his days helping those locked out of their car or home, and methodically writes letters to this beloved woman in his free moments. He’s obviously a man who hasn’t done everything right in his life – with a son that feels abandoned and without a father – and this woman serves as his only beacon. He’s void of any real interaction or connection in his life, aside from his weekly encounter with a warmhearted bank teller (wonderfully played by Holly Hunter).

It’s a considerably smaller film in the scope of Pacino’s career, but the performance is stirring and big, and will be recognized as such in the coming years. It’s surely a movie that requires the viewer to stick with it, but its magical quality can’t be denied. David Gordon Green has really tapped into something here, giving us a deeply enthralling portrait of life in the south. All of its genius isn’t going to be revealed on the first viewing. But as we all know, great movies continue to evolve the more you watch them. In my eyes, this falls into that category. “Manglehorn” is now playing in select theaters and available On Demand.

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