Crazy Heart

2009

Crazy Heart

Critics Consensus

Thanks to a captivating performance from Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart transcends its overly familiar origins and finds new meaning in an old story.

90%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 206

76%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 124,750
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Movie Info

Bad Blake is a broken-down, hard-living country music singer who's had way too many marriages, far too many years on the road and one too many drinks way too many times. And yet, Bad can't help but reach for salvation with the help of Jean, a journalist who discovers the real man behind the musician. As he struggles down the road of redemption, Bad learns the hard way just how tough life can be on one man's crazy heart.

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News & Interviews for Crazy Heart

Critic Reviews for Crazy Heart

All Critics (206) | Top Critics (45) | Fresh (186) | Rotten (20)

  • Crazy Heart is a wonderful picture that will immediately affect you and hold your interest to the very end.

    Jan 16, 2018 | Full Review…

    Ed Koch

    The Atlantic
    Top Critic
  • Crazy Heart feels familiar, even comforting, offering few surprises but a wealth of lovingly crafted, immaculately judged, wholly authentic emotion.

    Feb 19, 2010 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • This turn from the perennially settled and contented Bridges is pure acting. It is the best performance of the past 12 months, and indeed possibly the next.

    Feb 19, 2010 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Kevin Maher

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • A wonderfully easy, confident and muscular performance from Jeff Bridges - so easy, confident and muscular that it doesn't look like acting at all - saves this movie from being pure sentimental mush.

    Feb 19, 2010 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • It's not possible to flaw Bridges here. Akin to Falstaff, the detail of his characterisation - from stagger to cough to swagger to song - is fascinating. But he needs more thorough contextualisation to fly.

    Feb 19, 2010
  • You'd have to be crazier than Joaquin Phoenix to see this film as ground-breaking. But when it's good, it ain't too bad at all.

    Feb 19, 2010 | Rating: 4/5

Audience Reviews for Crazy Heart

  • Mar 28, 2014
    "Lay down your money and you play your heart; everybody's got a crazy heart!" Man, that was cheap, especially considering that heartland rock just isn't American enough for a film like this. Granted, the Americana value of that kind of heartland rock is toned down by Bruce Springsteen's a super-liberal who doesn't realize how much his jingoism threatens American culture, but even with that taken out of account, this film is so country that it's loosely based on the life of Hank Thompson, and is set so deeply into its roots that it title sounds like something that someone's old uncle came up with when he was whittling on the porch or whatever. The film features some tunes that come courtesy of Stephen Bruton, who apparently found this project so satisfying as a testament to Americana music that he died right after working on it, knowing that it doesn't get any more American than this. I'd imagine the throat cancer didn't exactly hinder his passing, but hey, he can rest in peace after working on this film, and I'd imagine Jeff Bridges could rest in peace if there was a chance of him passing away any time soon, because with this film, I reckon he's secured our disbelief that he's not from Texas or wherever. He's about as bad as Creedence Clearwater Revival at sticking with his California roots, but hey, I don't mind, because as someone from the region these fellas wish they were from, I can tell you that they do a pretty decent job of replicating this part of the music industry. At the very least, they know how to make a decent film about this part of the music industry, and yet, like Bridges' and John Fogerty's attitude about their more westward-bound roots, this film still has its share of serious problems. There's been much talk about this film's lack of originality, and, wow, such talk couldn't be further from the truth, for although there are some distinct moments of inspiration which distinguish this particular inspiration of an age-old tale, the final product is rendered hopelessly predictable as it works its way through trope, after trope, after trope along a formulaic plot. Perhaps the conventions would be easier to get past if it wasn't for, well, first off, the cold spells in storytelling bite which I will talk more about later, as well as, of all things, occasions in which storytelling gets too carried away with dramatic momentum, to the point of reaching subtlety issues, of which there are only so many, though still enough, and in enough key places, to shake the genuineness of this drama with melodrama. Whether they derive from an ambition to flesh out depth, or even from a laziness to the fleshing out of genuineness, subtlety issues, however limited, undercuts much of this drama's, if you will, "heart", and that's a shame, because much too often, when the film isn't overexploring its depth, it's undercooking it, conceptually taking on themes regarding losing public relevance and personal life with age, as well as addiction, and doing them something of an injustice through underdevelopment, if not a somewhat tamed portrayal of potentially meaty subject matter. Highlights in the onscreen and offscreen performances are well worth waiting for as compliments to the depths of this drama, but the film takes a long time to get to its conflicts, let alone those dramatic highlights, and such near-gross underexploration of a worthy story concept deals a devastating blow to effectiveness which goes matched by the blow delivered through the route opposite of undercooking. In a lot of ways, the film is too tight to draw upon its dramatic core, and in just as many ways, it's overdrawn, certainly not with excess material, but excess filler that meanders on and on, to the point of bland repetition that Scott Cooper, as director, quite frankly, exacerbates with an atmosphere that is too thoughtful for a film this limited in depth to meditate upon, resulting in an occasionally dull toothlessness. About as lacking in atmospheric dynamicity as it is lacking in structural dynamicity, the film has its inspired moments of dramatic momentum, but much too often, flat pacing really places a heavy number on this drama's engagement value, further shaken by a certain flatness to uniqueness and depth, until the final product finds itself sputtering out, not just pretty short of potential, but pretty deeply into underwhelmingness. Yeah, the film is nothing short of a let-down to me, but by no means is it a misfire, being rather misguided in a lot of ways, but nonetheless inspired in enough other places to endear, perhaps even musically. Often too quiet for its own good, this film doesn't even play up its already fairly forgettable score all that much, let alone its song soundtrack, but when those tunes come into play, although plenty of them run together, and often don't impress all that thoroughly, lyrically or musically, they consistently entertain, to one degree or another, with sheer charm, alone. When the quality really kicks in, the soundtrack really endears, yet the music of this film always plays a pretty respectable role in capturing the thematic depth of this ballad of a man expressing a life of joy and struggle through his charming music, though certainly not that much as it probably should in a film that often does a flat job of selling a worthy story. Conventional in concept and melodramatic, underexplored and draggy in its execution, this story is often so betrayed by lacking, maybe even aimless storytelling that it's difficult to get a feel for the depth of this drama, and yet, denying the value of this age-old drama about a man finding deeper regions of his humanity as he gradually comes to terms with his flaws and dwindling celebrity is all but impossible, or is at least made so by moments of true inspiration to storytelling. Such inspiration is a borderline rarity in this thinly scripted and often directorially toothless drama, but the patient are likely to be engaged by what is indeed done right here, whether it be within a script that carries clever dialogue and some intriguing moments to characterization, or within a thoughtful directorial performance that, when actually backed by some material, resonates, perhaps not thoroughly, but enough to compel. Scott Cooper's debut performance as a writer-director is shaky, make no mistake, and it's really hard to get invested in this drama because of that, yet there's always something charming about Cooper's sense of heart, kept pumping by effective moments that, to be honest, thrive on Cooper's work with a strong cast. From the charismatic, if underused Robert Duvall as a old buddy of our protagonist, to a dramatically effective Maggie Gyllenhaal as our protagonist's love interest, most every member of this film's respectable cast does a perfectly fine job of delivering on reasonably memorable performances that add to the selling of this character study, although it's Jeff Bridges, as the portrayer of this drama's central focus, who really delivers, though admittedly not nearly as much as many are saying, getting too caught up in his usual acting formula and having too little outside of that to work with to stand out, let alone be worthy of an Oscar that probably wouldn't be too much worthier in the hands of Bridges' fellow nominees (Jackie Earle Haley got no love for "Watchmen", probably because I'm the only jerk giving love to "Watchmen"), but still turning in a worthy performance that utilizes thorough charisma and ever so delicate subtleties to project the gradual change in a celebrity who comes to realize and work towards mending his flaws. Really, even the strongest elements of this drama, like the performances, aren't all that impressive in this limply handled effort, so the final product is all around kind of flat, but by no means mediocre, because whether it be because of the charm of its ambition, or true inspiration, the film endears time and again, despite its great deal of shortcomings. Overall, the occasional subtlety issue and many a convention are among the less problematic elements of a seriously undercooked, repetitiously draggy and atmospherically cold telling of a worthy story concept that is done too much injustice for the final product to stand a chance of transcending underwhelmingness, challenged enough by a decent soundtrack, some clever writing, thoughtful direction, and solid performances - particularly that of Jeff Bridges - to make Scott Cooper's "Crazy Heart" a charming, if kind of flat drama. 2.5/5 - Fair
    Cameron J Super Reviewer
  • Feb 10, 2013
    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.
    Josh M Super Reviewer
  • Jul 08, 2012
    Crazy Heart is a terrific film with some amazing acting on the part of Jeff Bridges. Aside from his role in The Big Lebowski, this is one of his finest hours. With a brilliant story where Bridges plays a washed-up Country Singer, this is a fine film that is near perfect. Bridges is simply phenomenal here, and the rest of the cast are simply wonderful here. The film is entertaining from start to finish. Director Scott Cooper does a wonderful job behind the camera, and with a poignant story, he delivers an unforgettable film that is definitely worth seeing. This is a well done film that I really enjoyed. Jeff Bridges definitely deserved the Oscar and he is a wonderfully talented actor. Crazy Horse has a few weak points about, but for the most part, it succeeds at being an entertaining film that is supported by a great cast, which in turn make it worth seeing. The film has a melancholic feel to it, but towards the end, the story is more uplifting this is a stunning picture that is meant to be treasured. Jeff Bridges is a powerhouse in this film, and he makes Crazy Heart worth watching. His performance alone is the film's greatest asset and it's what makes this film such a treat to watch. If you're in the mood for a great drama film, Crazy Heart is a must see. The performances alone make it worth seeing. Jeff Bridges has made some great films, but with Crazy Heart, he plays a stripped down serious role, and gives it an honest, poignant and heartfelt performance that he won him an Oscar.
    Alex r Super Reviewer
  • Dec 12, 2011
    Filled with great music and an especially terrific performance from Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart is a truly enjoyable watch.
    Graham J Super Reviewer

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