Movie review: Pacino takes us in the mind of a bitter old man in "Manglehorn"

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

The somewhat unlikely pairing of Al Pacino and director David Gordon Green is an intriguing one, and the resulting movie is an easy recommendation for fans of both.

A.J. Manglehorn (Pacino) is a small-town locksmith who passes his days making keys and unlocking doors and his nights caring for his cat and pining for a long-lost love.

Manglehorn has warm interactions with all those he encounters, especially his feline companion, but there’s also a cripplingly deep vein of regret for the one love he lost.

In a strange way, “Manglehorn” is a coming-of-age story of a man who is still learning about himself in his old age. Pacino is at times playing well out-of-character — who could picture Tony Montana of “Scarface” playing with a kitty? — but there are also those bursts of signature Pacino rage. It’s much more rewarding to watch him work in the quieter moments.

Green knows how to milk big emotion from a small town (“All the Real Girls” is still my favorite), and “Manglehorn” is vintage DGG. The loose and episodic structure is more about tone than plot, and some of those episodes feel less crucial. Minor spoiler/warning: There’s a moment of cat surgery.

But it’s a story that feels all the feelings, buoyed by a great supporting turn by Holly Hunter and an oddly appropriate one by odd director Harmony Korine. Consider it recommended.


Opens Friday

3 stars out of 4