Review: Crazy Heart
This is Jeff Bridge's film. No doubt about it. He's carries it, he lives it, he sings it. He's everything in it. I hadn't heard much about 'Crazy Heart' before the Independent Spirit nominations came out. Then after seeing Bridges on Conan (singing a song from the film) I knew right there that his performance was going to be brilliant. It drew me in.
'Crazy Heart' follows a washed up country singer named Bad Blake. (Bridges) He's passed his prime, he's touring small towns in the southwest, his agent is constantly on him to write new material. Bad is an alcoholic, a heavy smoker, and has been married and divorced five times. When he meets Jean (Maggie Gyllenhaal) a reporter in Santa Fe, NM we already know his relationship with her will be doomed. He has an estranged son, who is now 28. Bad hasn't seen him since he was 4, and Jean's own 4 year old son Buddy fills that void for him. He falls hard for Jean. He's given a chance to open for a man that used to be his protege. Tommy Sweet (great little cameo by Colin Farrell) still really appreciates what Bad Blake did for him, even if Bad is unwilling to talk about it. They sing a duet on stage, and Bad confesses to Tommy that he'd love to get back into the business. Tommy said all Bad needs to do is write some new songs, and the studio would be interested. Bad hasn't written anything in over 3 years.
Bridges (and Farrell) do all their own singing and playing, which makes it even more special. Bridges really captivates us with Bad. He's tormented, yet funny. Irresponsible, yet lovable. He drinks, swears, smokes, and screws groupies, yet when he's playing with Buddy you wouldn't know that same man did all those questionable things. Maggie Gyllenhaal was great as Jean, a protective mother that understands the risks of seeing Blake, but takes them anyways. She's always been a brave actress, and her nomination for Best Supporting Actress at the Oscars was one of the few surprises this season. Although one can wonder if it's her "its about time" nomination when roles she had in 'Secretary' and 'Sherrybaby' were ignored.
The film captures the beauty of the desert southwest, and the music is fitting. We hear bits of 'The Weary Kind', the films signature song throughout, before we hear it in it's entirety at the end. We root for Blake to get better on his journey. While the ending may not be what everyone had hoped for, it's uplifting nonetheless.
Recommended: Yes 4/5 stars
Memorable Quote: "I used to want to be a baseball player, but I had trouble hitting the curve ball. That's why I stuck with guitar, that son of a bitch stays were it's supposed to." - Bad Blake (Jeff Bridges)