Manglehorn

| October 6, 2015

Manglehorn is in a line of work that is perfect — maybe a little too perfect — for his personality. He runs a lock-and-key company independently, and in the same way, he keeps his distance from the rest of the world most of the time. Manglehorn tells a story about the kind of guy that everyone knows but no one knows about.

Al Pacino is Manglehorn, the sometimes-meticulous, too-honest-for-his-own-good near-hermit who spends his days letting people into their cars when they lock themselves out, and his nights shuffling around the house with his cat, Fanny. He seems lonely, but not bored, and his thoughts are consumed with Clara, the woman he proclaims was the love of his life.

Manglehorn is quiet and curious, but mostly withdrawn. On the few occasions that he does speak, his brutal honesty is misunderstood, and his status as a hermit makes more sense. He is intensely introverted and cynical.

Unfortunately, many aspects of this film seemed to flop as a result of trying too hard to achieve something. The cinematography was nothing special. The occasional narration was cliche, and took away from the mystery of the film. The script is filled with clich├ęs that remind you of how non-special the story is. The characters are unfortunate too; most of them are cliches as well (the selfish rich guy, the small-town big shot, the quirky potential girlfriend). Although each actor plays the character well, none of them are memorable.

There isn’t enough of a story to rely on the aesthetics, and the aesthetics aren’t enough to support the lack of intrigue. Even the balance of the quirks and the simplicity of the story is off, which leaves the viewer both confused and unimpressed. There are a number of uncomfortable moments, and not the ones that moviegoers enjoy. The heartwarming scenes are not enough to make the film worthwhile.

There are some aspects of the film that come across as confusing (Pacino’s poor on-and-off southern drawl, for instance) or pointless (a man enters a bank and begins to sing. Viewers witness the entire song). However, in the end, you can’t help but like — or at least pity — the title character. In the end, Manglehorn comes across as a student film that might have been okay if it were much shorter.

About the Author:

Caress is a Chicagoan who has a deep fascination with film. Her love for movies began as an undergraduate at Roosevelt University, where her teacher suggested she write a movie review. Caress' favorite genres include indie dramas, foreign films, experimental films, and psychological thrillers. When she's not watching movies, Caress enjoys writing, photography, travel, fashion and music.
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