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Bridges/Gyllenhall/Farrell/Duvall ~ Crazy Heart
In a career filled with unforced, naturalistic performances, Jeff Bridges gives one of his finest in Crazy Heart. His oft-married, booze-soaked troubadour Bad Blake has just rolled into Santa Fe when he meets Maggie Gyllenhaal's journalist Jean. "Where do all the songs come from?" she asks during their initial encounter. "Life, unfortunately," he sighs. Against Jean's better judgment, her fling with Blake blooms into a full-fledged relationship. Between gigs, Blake hangs out with the divorcée and her 4-year-old son, with whom he establishes an instant rapport, possibly because the musician is just an overgrown kid himself (and also because he hasn't seen his own boy in years). While Blake plays juke joints, his protégé, Tommy Sweet (Colin Farrell, cast against type to fine effect), plays stadiums, but just when director Scott Cooper's debut seems to be going down the same path as A Star Is Born, Sweet offers his mentor an opportunity that could revive his reputation--at the expense of his still-healthy ego. Between Jean and Tommy, things start looking up for Blake until a critical error puts his stab at redemption in jeopardy. Once Robert Duvall enters the scene as Blake's favorite bartender, it's clear that Cooper has Tender Mercies in his sights, but Crazy Heart, which features music by T-Bone Burnett and rough-hewn singing by its Golden Globe-winning star, plays more like a sincere cover version than a strikingly original composition. Still, like Duvall's in Tender Mercies, Bridges's performance is Oscar-worthy. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
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Top Customer Reviews
The story, however, remains second to the music. It is a tale of a down-and-out singer named "Bad" Blake who hasn't written any new material in years. His career is waning, and he seeks solace in the bottle as he drives from gig to gig. He's an alcoholic, a once brilliant but now pathetic figure. The gigs are nothing to write home about, the bars are small but the crowds still love him and the hits. They are still there for him, whether he deserves them or not. Despite the drinking, the gigs are (mostly) still brilliant. (One thing I enjoyed was that "Bad" performs with a different house band in every town, and therefore the concerts all have a different flavour.)
His manager is struggling to keep "Bad"'s career going, and wants him to write new songs. Blake insists there's nothing wrong with the old songs. Along the way he meets Jean, who interviews him for an article she's planning to write. Despite the drinking, she falls for Blake, or at least the icon that he once was. Most importantly, Blake seems to really get along with her young son, Buddy, and seems to be surprisingly great with kids. The love affair blooms, and we learn that "Bad" has a son of his own.
"Bad" Blake's big break is an opening slot for Tommy Sweet (Collin Ferrel), now a huge country star but once a young sideman to Blake himself.Read more ›
I was prepared to dislike this movie, because I knew it was about a slacker has-been and I don't like that type of character. Bridges' Bad Blake is indeed an aimless loser, but it's impossible not to see his underlying vulnerability and I liked and cared about him. Bridges is completely believable as a singer and musician, looking and sounding very much like Kris Kristopherson on a bad day; he performs effortlessly and with the assurance of a pro. He is ably supported by the wonderful Ms Gyllenhaal who plays a sadder but wiser young woman and the always great Robert Duvall in a small but meaty role.
This movie is ultimately about redemption and would make good viewing at an AA meeting. The stellar cast and fine script make for a rewarding viewing experience.
Most recent customer reviews
Jeff bridges is obviously a mega talented man. The story line is somewhat predictable , but not a waste of money. Good music.Published on Dec 11 2013 by karen Bockus Lamarsh
I enjoyed this movie I thought Jeff Bridges and Maggie Gynenthall did a great job. Story was good too. Wothe seeing.Published on March 19 2013 by Jennifer Stanton