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June 29, 15

A movie review of “Manglehorn”: Holly Hunter gives one of her best performances as a lonely Texas bank teller who tries to interest a distracted locksmith (Al Pacino). Rating: 3 stars out of 4.

As a director, David Gordon Green seems to be all over the map, moving from art-house breakthrough (“All the Real Girls”) to slacker comedy (“Pineapple Express”) to ambitious character study (“Prince Avalanche”).

If there’s a theme that recurs in most of his work, it’s a sympathy with lonely people struggling to connect — often in Texas.

 “Manglehorn,” his latest, takes place in Sunset Valley, Texas, where an aging locksmith, A.J. Manglehorn (Al Pacino), is obsessed with the memory of a woman who left him long ago.

Pacino easily captures the character’s longtime frustration, though it’s Holly Hunter who supplies the story’s heartbreak. She plays Dawn, a lonely bank teller who tries to interest Manglehorn during their weekly bank meetings. It’s one of this fine actress’s best performances: alert, quietly emotional, never maudlin.

Also quite good is Chris Messina as Manglehorn’s arrogant, estranged son, whose willingness to cut corners in business gives the character a wide range to play.

Paul Logan’s script may err on the side of preachiness (some of the more self-conscious scenes could have come from a 1950s stage play), and at times you expect someone to declare “I told you so,” but Hunter’s work is a triumph.

You’re left with the uncanny feeling that you know what Dawn’s thinking before she thinks it.

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