Parents' Guide to


By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Pacino's performance best part of uneven drama.

Movie PG-13 2015 97 minutes
Manglehorn Poster Image

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Pacino is a stunner as the title character. His heartache practically oozes off the screen as he tries to connect, via heartfelt letters, to his ex, Clara -- letters that are always returned unopened. Hunter, too, has an amazing scene as a lonely woman who's terribly disappointed to learn that she was probably mistaken about her chances to find love. And Chris Messina, as Manglehorn's estranged son, delivers a knockout monologue about growing up with a difficult father.

The film's problem is that all of these excellent pieces don't connect to create a coherent whole. It's OK to leave some of the backstory unexplained. We don't need to know all the details of how and why Manglehorn and Clara split up or why his son doesn't like him. But we do want the film to make sense. We hear a few stories about Manglehorn as a doting dad, and and we see him as a devoted grandfather, so it's not very clear how he managed to alienate his son. We see the frustration in Messina, but it doesn't totally make sense. Nor do we know why Manglehorn ended up alone, so it's hard to understand why he's become so completely unable to move on with his life, even with a woman who likes him right there in front of him. It's satisfying to see Manglehorn eventually unlock his closed-off heart, but it's unearned. See it for Pacino, but not for the storytelling.

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