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I’ve never met a film more difficult to review. Most movies make it obvious – the cat is featured a lot or a little, it’s treated well or very poorly. Manglehorn is different, and as such is more difficult to judge. I’ve currently given it a solid three, but with more reflection this may change.
Manglehorn is about a locksmith who lives by himself with his cat, Fanny. She is given a good amount of screen time, with him carrying her on adventures or watching over her in their home. Her scenes are decently dispersed throughout the film as well. If you ever wonder if you’ll see the cat again, it’s pretty much a guarantee that you will. Even when she’s not on screen, her presence is felt in the important beats of the film. There is one portion in the second half, however, where she disappears for some time. This could leave a cat fan a little antsy to see her again, but take comfort: She will return.

Fanny herself is absolutely adorable. She’s cute and fluffy with an expressive face (rather reminiscent of our very own mascot, Remy!) I’m impressed at how well behaved she is, too, tolerating all kinds of distractions and situations with little to no complaint. One segment, in which our protagonist (Manglehorn) wanders around, is particularly enjoyable. He carries Fanny the whole time in one arm. This may distract from what’s happening in the actual story, but makes it more fun for any cat fans.

Not only is the cat incredibly cute, but very well loved, too. Manglehorn takes good care of the kitty, and clearly wants her by his side. The highest point of joy in the film is a moment in which he celebrates for Fanny. She’s treated well by her owner, making it all the more of a delight to have her in the movie.

The movie Manglehorn would get a perfect 4 in quality but for one very serious strain. Fanny’s storyline in the film is that she is unwell. In fact, she has to have surgery, which is even shown on screen. Anyone who has had a cat with health issues knows the kind of stress that can be, and it can be felt here. Rest assured that she recovers fully, making for the most joyous moment in the movie for both cat fans and non-cat fans alike. But prior to that moment, I found it a bit stressful, since it’s not clear that this is the kind of movie to let the cat live.

If you’re looking to support independent film and see a fantastic feline, check out Manglehorn. This is a movie that, while heavy at times, ultimately knows how to appreciate a cat. Fanny is not only pleasantly featured throughout, but is a pleasure to watch.

Have you seen Manglehorn? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below!

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