Crazy Heart (2009)
Critic Consensus: Thanks to a captivating performance from Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart transcends its overly familiar origins and finds new meaning in an old story.
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as Bad Blake
as Jean Craddock
as Jo Ann
as Tommy Sweet
as Wesley Barnes
as Bill Wilson
as Jack Greene
as Steven Reynolds
as Young Guy
as Older Hispanic Man
as Security Guard
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Critic Reviews for Crazy Heart
With great performances from Bridges and Gyllenhaal, Crazy Heart is a winner and a must-see.
Basically a live-action version of the cliche country-western song with a man down on his luck and losing everything in his life, it comes close to being a joke about itself.
Bridges' worn down country singer is as well realized as any character he's ever done. It may take a while to get going, and to develop, and to wrap up, but there's enough meat to make Crazy Heart worthwhile, even if it is made to last a while.
Played by a gracefully aging Jeff Bridges, Bad is an older, greasier and groggier version of The Dude
Cooper is so afraid of being bold and baring some soul, he achieves little more than the anachronistic, cookie-cutter blues that his lead character spent a lifetime trying to avoid.
Barry Markowitz's camerawork at times captures the hazy heat of the American southwest, giving it a sepia-toned warmth, while this grainy wash gives Blake's late-night bender scenes a green-about-the-gills feel.
Audience Reviews for Crazy Heart
Even though somehow similar to it, The Wrestler came out as a hard punch while this one feels more like a soft country song that benefits a lot from Jeff Bridges' outstanding performance and turns out to be a satisfying yet unoriginal drama.
Jeff Bridges carries this film with another outstanding performance through all the motels, bars and stadiums. It's refreshing to see a drama bout a man who's past his prime years that doesn't entirely give up on its protagonist and doesn't paint an entirely pessimistic picture. Even with little interest in country music, there is a lesson to learn here: it's never too late for a second chance. But some things will only allow you one. Many images of the film stay with you long after it ended.
Crazy Heart is a small intimate story you've seen a few times before; the burnt out has been artist drifting in a haze of disillusionment and alcoholism saved by the love of a good woman. But -- NEVER this well executed. This film is consistently honest, touching, heartbreaking, funny and has great original country tunes. Its secret weapon, the most natural, charismatic and apparently effortless actor on the planet - Jeff Bridges.
On a downward spiral is deteriorating, aging former country star Bad Blake (Bridges). During a low rent desperate road trip playing in bowling alleys and dives, Bad finds a much younger single mother journalist (Maggie Gyllenhaal) and they fall in love. Though this happens when Bad's in a drunken stupor, a game changing screw up puts the love of his life in peril. Bad knows he can't keep this relationship going unless he gets sober, with the help of friends like his buddy Robert Duvall and his younger protege Tommy Sweet, who is now a huge star, surprisingly sung and nicely embodied by Colin Farrell.
What amazed me is the palpable chemistry between Gyllenhaal and Bridges which totally won me over. It's hard enough to have good chemistry when the actors are the same age, let alone thirty years apart. Here, I bought it hook line and sinker and more importantly, I cared! It's a tribute to both actors that their love happens in such a quiet, gradual and truthful way.
Young and highly promising writer/director Scott Cooper has written and directed a note perfect chamber film. It may try the patience of some viewers, because the story avoids melodramatic histrionics and big over the top emotions, unfolding very gently. It's very similar to Duvall's Tender Mercies in tone and milieu, and in theme, it's very close to Daren Aronofsky's The Wrestler, though it's more conventional and mainstream than that Mickey Rorke vehicle.
The songs by T Bone Burnett are uniformly excellent, mostly in the vein of traditional country with slightly Freudian lyrics with subject matter that subtly touches on the themes of the film. This has my strongest recommendation, but consider yourself forewarned if you hate country music or were expecting big histrionics, gun play and chase scenes.
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