Al Pacino plays Danny Collins, an aging singer (think Tom Jones) who still performs his greatest hits in front of crowds of mature ladies. Danny still has it but he hasn’t written an original song in 40 years. When his manager (Christopher Plummer, speaking of popular songs) finds a letter that John Lennon wrote to Danny in 1971, about how he couldn’t wait to hear Danny’s new work, Danny cancels his tour. Danny/Pacino hunkers down in a New Jersey hotel and has a piano wheeled into his room. While there, he persistantly flirts with the hotel manager (Annette Bening) and tries to reconnect with his estranged son (Bobby Cannavale) who’s married (to Jennifer Garner) with kids. The son wants nothing to do with him.
The film is perfectly cast, and written and directed by Dan Fogelman (Crazy, Stupid, Love, Galavant, The Neighbors). Danny Collins is all about staying true to yourself. The 74-year-old Pacino shines in the role. The emotion he brings to the piano scenes is real — Pacino used to play piano in jazz clubs until 4 in the morning, back in the early 70s, before showing up on the set of Scarecrow.