Crazy Heart

I have long awaited the release of Crazy Heart.  At first I didn’t know much about it besides the  praise for Jeff Bridges. Jeff Bridges has been sweeping award season with his performances so i just had to put it on my list of films to see. As i looked into the film the story seemed to be a bit overplayed.

The story revolves around a washed up country rock star (Bridges) who hasn’t written a song in years.  He is struggling to make ends meet as he tours the country playing small concert halls and even a bowling alley.  Along the way he meets a young reporter, Jean Craddock, (Maggie Gyllenhaal) who he falls in love with and she eventually changes his life through their relationship.  Colin Ferrel and Robert Duvall costar.

Please don’t judge the movie prematurely based on this synopsis.  The fact that it is a cliche story or even that its about country rock may make you uneasy but the film is definitely character driven.  This is not a bad thing when Jeff Bridges is at the helm.

You may know him as The Dude in the Big Lebowski but here, he is Bad Blake.  You would think this down an out cowboy would wallow in his own pain but Bridges decides to make a more apathetic character.  A person who feels he has nothing to prove and that his past should drive his future.  This completely changes with the addition of his love interest.  You get to see a new Bad, full of life and one that wants to make up for the mistakes he has made.  This is seen through his admiration for Jean’s son.  Through alcoholism and eventual rehab you can see Bridges progression to a man able to relive his glory days through one last song.

The most common problem with A-list actors in musicals is that they can’t sing.  For Crazy Heart this is not the case.  Bridges has multiple songs where you feel like your at a real country musicians show.  His duet with Colin Ferrel in Fallin’ & Flyin, is a really good and catchy country song.  By far the stand out song of this movie is heard in the final scene and over the credits.  The Weary Kind by Ryan Bingham is a really fantastic song and characterizes Bad Blake’s struggle.  This is the song that Bad is working on throughout the course of the movie.  The Weary Kind is nominated  for best song at this year Oscars.  Annoyingly through an Oscar insult the best song nominees were not invited to perform at this years telecast. Personally I think this is a slap in the face but that’s a whole other post.

I was underwhelmed by Maggie Gyllenhaal’s performance in this film.  She plays a single mother who falls in love with Bad.  Its not that her role was bad or her portrayal was wrong.  But i just felt it was lackluster.  I did not leave the theater wanting to tell everyone how amazing she was.  This could be attributed to how Jeff Bridges overshadowed her.  I can’t even say this was Jeff Bridges movie either because it wasn’t him, he became Bad.

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    • Joe C
    • March 2nd, 2010

    I agree totally re: Meryl Streep, What an actress and so natural about it all.

    take care, Uncle J

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