Saturday 18 April 2015

Movie Review: Danny Collins

I enjoyed it. Good story and great acting. Al Pacino, Annette Bening, Jennifer Garner, Bobby Cannavale and Christopher Plummer? Holy cow!

Aging 1970s rocker Danny Collins (Al Pacino) cannot give up his hard-living ways. But when his manager Frank Grubman (Christopher Plummer) uncovers a 40-year-old undelivered letter written to him by John Lennon, he decides to change course, and embarks on a heartfelt journey to rediscover his family, find true love and begin a second act. -Rotten Tomatoes

So far, so good. But the kicker? The movie is an adaptation of a true story. Yes, a true story. I forget the exact wording, but the film opens by saying it's "sort of based on a true story... a little bit." Amusing, but the letter from John Lennon is true!

Steve Tylston (b 1950) is an English folk singer-songwriter and guitarist with a career spanning over forty years.

Interview with Steve Tylston
I did an interview with a magazine called Zig Zag in 1971, just after I’d had my first album out, and in it I was asked by the fellow who was interviewing me whether I thought if I…..if I became you know, rich beyond the dreams of avarice you know, whether it would affect my song writing, you know, whether it would detrimentally, and I thought it, I said I thought it would. Anyway, John for some reason took exception to this, and wrote a letter in saying, you know, ‘Dear Steve Tilston and Richard Howe the guy who interviewed me ‘it doesn’t make any difference; I’ve been poor, and Yoko’s been rich then poor, now she’s rich again’ so it was all this kind of….. ‘it wouldn’t affect me and you’d still have to kind of……you know, be engaged with the world’ and things like this, so……but it was a very friendly letter, and……and he finished it with ‘well what do you think of that?’ and then sort of, but he’d kind of taken the trouble of this….of colouring in bits and writing little……you know, doodles and things and he his home telephone number in Ascot, so if I’d have got the letter, you know, when he sent it, I would have rung him, so that’s the frustrating thing you see.

Wikipedia: Steve Tilston
In August 2010, it was reported that John Lennon had penned a letter of support to Tilston in 1971, though it was never delivered. Lennon had been inspired to write to the then 21 year-old folk singer after having read an interview in ZigZag magazine in which Tilston admitted he feared wealth and fame might negatively affect his songwriting. Tilston did not become aware of the letter’s existence until a collector contacted him in 2005 to verify its authenticity. “Being rich doesn't change your experience in the way you think,” Lennon wrote. It was signed "Love John and Yoko." This letter was the inspiration behind the 2015 film Danny Collins.

The supposition is that somebody at the ZigZag magazine kept the letter instead of sending it along and eventually sold it to a collector. How would that letter have affected the life of Steve Tylston? It’s an incredible story and an incredible what if.

FYI: The movie is a fictionalized version of the true story. Steve Tylston apparently never got rich like Danny Collins and did not reunite with a long-lost son.

Final Word
I will end this review as I started it. I enjoyed it. Will you? There is the connection to John Lennon and the nostalgia we all have for the good ol’ days. That unto itself adds a little something to the proceedings. But on top of it, there’s the heart-warming story of a family reuniting. Bad things happen. People get separated. But in the end, things work out. And that just feels good.


Wikipedia: Danny Collins (film)
Danny Collins is a 2015 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Dan Fogelman in his feature directorial debut. Inspired by the true story of folk singer Steve Tilston, the film stars Al Pacino, Annette Bening, Jennifer Garner, Bobby Cannavale and Christopher Plummer.

Rotten Tomatoes: Danny Collins: 78%
Thanks to Al Pacino's stirring central performance - and excellent work from an esteemed supporting cast -- Danny Collins manages to overcome its more predictable and heavy-handed moments to deliver a heartfelt tale of redemption.

Wikipedia: Steve Tilston
Steve Tilston (born 26 March 1950) is an English folk singer-songwriter and guitarist.

official web site: Steve Tylston


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