Left heartbroken by the woman he loved and lost forty years ago, an eccentric small-town locksmith (Al Pacino) tries to start his life over again with the help of a new friend (Holly Hunter), in the new film from David Gordon Green (George Washington, All the Real Girls).
David Gordon Green
A.J. Manglehorn (Al Pacino) is a storefront philosopher, toiling every day at his lock-and- key business but consumed inside by memories of the great love he let slip through his fingers. "I need you, Clara," he writes in one of the many letters that shape the mood and story of David Gordon Green's latest film. "Loving you is the only thing I ever done right. No one compares. They never will." That hope of love seems long in Manglehorn's past, but in this magical portrait of a surprising man, there is room for second chances.
Green's films range from wild comedy (Pineapple Express, Your Highness) to subtle observation (All the Real Girls, Joe). Working for the first time with this master of screen acting, Green weaves humour and insight together to guide Pacino to one of his strongest performances in years. As much as Manglehorn claims not to like people, he leaves his mark on them. Although his aggressive, deal-making son (Chris Messina) resents his father, he can't help but seek him out. The long-maned bank teller he visits — played by the remarkable Holly Hunter — yearns for a date to match her romantic fantasies, but finds she must deal with Manglehorn's peculiar perspectives. "You look good," he tells her gamely. "You look like a racehorse or something."
As it grows from its quiet character-study beginnings to engage bigger questions of love and human connection, Manglehorn finds moments of pure poetry. This humble locksmith's daydreams have a surreal quality. We see life through the lens of his experience, tinged by a hard-won wisdom that's equal parts pragmatism and whimsy. It's a generous view that's deeply satisfying to watch. Combine that with an electric supporting performance by filmmaker Harmony Korine, and the pleasure of watching Pacino and Hunter perform together, and you're left with a completely original experience.