A.J. Manglehorn is a reclusive Texas key-maker who spends his days caring for his cat, finding comfort in his work and lamenting a long lost love. Enter kind-hearted bank teller Dawn whose interest in the eccentric Manglehorn may just be able to draw him out of his shell.Written by
In the original script Manglehorn was a criminal who had gone straight. He met with his old partner who was hiding out in a senior citizen's home and his mysterious back story was explained. There was also a massacre at Dawn's bank and a massive earthquake that brought forth Clara. This was all edited out of the final film. See more »
When Manglehorn has a conversation with the little girl in a park, the girl holds a yellow toy and eats ice cream. The amount of ice cream changes too quickly between shots. See more »
"You look great. Like a racehorse." A. J. Manglehorn (Al Pacino)
The above quote is a mixed compliment given to a lovely lady, Dawn (Holly Hunter), on a disastrous date. Manglehorn, a aging locksmith, can't seem to connect with his son, his ex love, really everyone but his cat, who has ingested one of his keys. Manglehorn as film is a drama about the challenges of an old man who just hasn't gotten it right.
The years he has mourned over the loss of his great love, Clara, because he foolishly let her go, seem countless. Each day he writes a letter to her, each day one returns unopened. His life has been reduced to a mess of regrets, a prison if you will from which he does not have the key. Opening others' locked doors is magic, not so with his own life.
Although Manglehorn is the solitary center of the film, those around him are prey to his bitter loneliness. Most lamentable is the way he dismisses the lovely bank clerk, Dawn, with rambling recollections of his lost love—not cool on the first date and not Seinfeldian funny. Just pathetic.
The performances make this small film worth seeing; it's as if the actors rose to Pacino's occasion, knowing the only way to emerge from this film is through good acting with one of film's greatest actors.
Director Joe Gordon Green has a flawless eye for the little details that tell much. In the case of the film's symbols such as the boat and the beehive, maybe too heavy. Yet as a literature lover, I appreciate the many obvious metaphors as a satisfactory attempt by first-time screenwriter Paul Logan to give gravity to an oft-told tale of an aging, lonely man.
For the audience, the film is a complex reminder of the need to approach old age with a light heart and an open one.
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