Directed by David Gordon Green
AJ Manglehorn is an aging, ordinary guy in a small town. He nurses his sick cat, squeezes out a conversation with the local bank teller every Friday, and eats at the same place every day. But there is more to Manglehorn than meets the eye: he’s an ex-con who, 40 years ago, gave up the woman of his dreams for a big ‘job’. He now obsesses daily over the choices he made. After a dramatic effort to start over, Manglehorn faces a terrifying moment and is unmasked as a guy with a very, very dark past.
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★★★★★ review by Jay Cheel on Letterboxd
Manglehorn is like Rocky Balboa but without the boxing.
★★★★ review by Alice on Letterboxd
Originally published: blogvodfilm.wordpress.com/
David Gordon Green’s Manglehorn should not be missed. It’s a beautiful piece of cinema that deserves to be watched. Sure it’s not fast paced and the plot is simple at best, but you just can’t help but be sucked in by the wonderful cast of characters and the beautiful visual elements the film offers. With great lighting and surreal edits there’s a mood to this film that’s hard not to fall in love with. If you’ve got the time and patience for this film I highly recommend you give it a watch.
Manglehorn (Al Pacino) is a Texas key maker who spends most of his time looking after his cat and obsessing over a lost love. He is cynical at times, but mostly he is just plodding through life giving his son lectures on priorities while having very few of his own. At times it’s painfully awkward, Manglehorn just can’t help saying the wrong thing, at the wrong time, almost always. You’ll be squirming from the gracelessness of this character, yet somehow it makes the film only better to watch. When a new love comes in you gain some hope for old Manglehorn, of course he has to mess up before happiness can be achieved.
Ultimately this film isn’t cynical, although it can be at times. It’s about starting over, starting again, and gaining happiness- even if it is late in life. It’s utterly absorbing, a film full of character, and strangely attractive in it’s simplicity.
★★★★★ review by FilmApe on Letterboxd
“When you choose this life, there is no one. It's only you. Every man for himself. And let me tell you something. When you're sitting there, wherever you are, in a dark room, suffering with the pain, guess what? There's still no one. No one answering the phone. No one responding to the letters you send. You're invisible.”
So in regards to recommending this film to people, I am currently 0/6. I have also had to field the question “why do you like this movie” or “I don't get why you like this movie” a number of times, so I have decided to etch why I like, nah, love Manglehorn officially into the stone that is Letterboxd.
The logline is that I love Manglehorn because it is the perfect blend of humanity and cinematic art. Manglehorn is an honest and beautiful look into its main character's life, and it is so honest and unblinking that it might as well be the dictionary definition for the human experience. Manglehorn as a character is incredibly complex, sometimes being happy, sometimes being sad, sometimes showing compassion and love, and sometimes not. Manglehorn is a character who is impossible to describe in a single sentence, and when you think he is pinned down, he does something to truly show how complex he is. The film is focused on showing perspectives on its complex character, and we see both Manglehorn's own perspective on himself, both real and imagined, as well as other people in Manglehorn's life perspective on him, both real and imagined. Manglehorn as a film is a text book slice of life film, and currently it is the film that I would show extraterrestrials should they land on earth and want to know what it means to be a human being.
Then we've got the cinematic art thing that Manglehorn just oozes, and it shows that David Gordon Green is really firing on every possible cylinder. There is nothing ordinary about Manglehorn in regards to the cinematic craft. Narratively speaking the film is challenging, given that it doesn't necessarily follow a traditional narrative structure (though I think the standard three act lay out does apply to this film). There is no effort to tell a story, but rather all effort is put towards evoking real feelings, and most of this is done through expertly written and delivered dialogue, as well as creative editing. The actors clearly love speaking the dialogue that they have been given (or in Harmony Korine's case, improvising dialogue) and Pacino in particular seems like a new actor just reveling in performing. There are times when there is dialogue, with narration over top of it, coupled with music, all competing for attention, and it works very well. The entire movie is an audio/visual collage, feeling borderline experimental at times, and again, it works very well. Manglehorn expertly conveys feelings and emotions, and feelings and emotions are worth way more to me than any story line with conflict and resolution. Manglehorn is a film that takes risks, makes choices, and in my opinion it succeeds completely.
This is no way a defense for Manglehorn, because in my opinion, it doesn't need it. If you are willing to give yourself over to the film, everything is there to deliver an unrivaled cinematic experience.
★★★½ review by maxwill on Letterboxd
The David Gordon Green Actor Resurgence program is back in session with this years guest, Al Pacino.
Yes, the man really turns in a wonderful performance. And if anybody knows me they know how much I love David Gordon Green.
And while his latest work, "Manglehorn", may fall a bit short in comparison to his other films, its still got a ton of heart, a lot of truths, and that fantastical/magical/surreal quality we all love in DGG's films.
Or maybe only I do, I dunno.
To me, Green has proven that he doesn't really make 'films' anymore in the traditional sense of the word; he rather just tells stories. Stories of people... every day people. It's an innate quality of his that puts him as a director and storyteller among my very favorites of all time.
If anyone is skipping this man's work, you are doing yourselves a disservice.
★★★★★ review by Vanessa Barnett on Letterboxd
Today, I felt so emotionally connected to Al Pacino, he made me cry. And then he made me laugh. And then his cat started eating again. It was a great day.
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