Sunday, January 26, 2014

Crazy Heart (2009) [R] ****

Bad Blake (Jeff Bridges) is an over-the-hill country singer/songwriter. He's an overweight, chain-smoking alcoholic, and his professional life has been reduced to one-night-gigs in seedy bars and bowling alley lounges, with pick-up bands backing him up. Then, in Santa Fe, his backup piano player asks Bad to give his niece Jeannie (Maggie Gyllenhaal) an interview for her newspaper, and something inside Bad prompts him to accept.

The two connect, and after Bad meets Jeannie's four-year-old son Buddy, he begins to realize what he's missed all his life by running out on his girlfriend and his own young son, over twenty years earlier. Bad is basically a good-hearted man, and he still has a few friends who want to help him, including Tommy Sweet (Colin Farrell), a popular, successful country singer who got his start singing with Bad many years earlier, and Wayne (Robert Duvall) who runs a bar in Bad's hometown of Houston. Against her better judgment, Jeannie flies to Houston to visit Bad, bringing young Buddy with her, but when Bad takes Buddy into a bar and then loses him, Jeannie realizes she's made a big mistake. At this point, Bad recognizes that he's hit rock bottom, and he appeals to his friend Wayne for help.

This is a gritty character study, and Jeff Bridges' restrained, poignant portrayal of Bad Blake is easily one of the best performances of his long career, and earned him a richly-deserved Best Actor Academy Award. Gyllenhaal, Farrell and Duvall are all excellent in their supporting roles. If you enjoyed films like A Star is Born with Kris Kristofferson and Barbra Streisand, Tender Mercies with Robert Duvall and Tess Harper or Walk the Line with Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon, you will likely enjoy Crazy Heart

Labels: drama, music, romance    
Internet Movie Database    
Metacritic 83/100   
RottenTomatoes Averages (critics=74, viewers=72)    

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