Call me crazy, but Crazy Heart is my 3rd favorite "heart" film, behind Angel and Brave.
The story here is not original (in fact it could be argued that many of the characters, especially Maggie Gyllenhaal's, could have been ripped right out of a country song), but the performance of Jeff Bridges is worth the price of admission (and deserving of his oscar).
Bridges plays Bad Blake a famous country singer whose star has dimmed. He is trapped in his own persona, living the hard drinkin', four time divorced hell raiser and suffering the consequences; hating not only himself, but everything around him for the situation he finds himself in. He drinks like a fish to numb the realization that he is the one responsible for his sad state of affairs - ageing, alone, trying to keep his fame flame lit by playing dives and bowling alley bars.
Maggie Gylleinhaal also does a nice turn as the woman who keeps falling for the wrong man (see, there's that country song rearing it's ugly head). It isn't her fault that my main objection to the film has to do with her character. I feel that the relationship developed between Maggie and Bridges seemed to spring up out of nowhere - one moment they are simply interacting (she interviews him for a newspaper), and the next, she's doing stuff for the love of him that no sane woman would do (except for those portrayed in a country song - damn, I said it again!). I suppose that since he cooked biscuits for she and her son, that of course means that she's fallen for him.
Anywho, the real star of the film (besides Bridges wonderful embodiment) is the music. Not a big fan of country, but the songs here (mostly written by the star of the moment, T-Bone Burnett) are solid and exceedingly well crafted. If the film were simply an expose about the music business, it would work pretty well (with a couple of minor missteps - 50 concerts in 60 days for a major star simply isn't realistic, as it usually takes a couple of days just to set up a venue).
There are also some nicely written moments, as when Maggie gets pissed because Bridges has just written a terrific song while convalescing in her bed. The issue being that she will remember the moment forever, and she is sure that he'll forget where and why he wrote it in a matter of months. There is another scene in which she berates Bridges as he has pulled another great tune out of the ether, complaining that he has no idea of how blessed he is and that most people would sell their souls to be able to write something that good. Of course, as Bridges stated earlier when they were doing the interview, the songs, unfortunately, come from experience. Perhaps Bad Blake has already sold his soul?
Ultimately, like a good country song (there I go again), there is redemption and a bittersweet ending, but the overall taste here is satisfying, but not overwhelming. My mind keeps drawing parallels to the Mickey Rourke vehicle The Wrestler. They are very much of a kind, though I felt the Rourke film a bit more convincing, in spite of a quirky, yet compelling in its own way cameo by Robert Duvall.