Directed by: Scott Cooper
If I didn't like Jeff Bridges or the soundtrack to Crazy Heart, I probably wouldn't have watched this movie. The plot itself is kind of a fill-in-the Mad Libs recipe for a drama:
A(n) art form/ sports star is struggling with substance that could be abused. This has caused negative result. The star meets love interest name and self dectructive actions, generally leading to a highly dramatic turning point with conflict caused by substance abuse. And then, the star dies/gets sober.
The acting is quite good. Bridges is excellent as the rarely-sober, down on his luck, and supremely talented Bad Blake. He slips the role on as effortlessly as Blake slips on his signature shades and cowboy hat, grousing like a crabby aging man and perfectly charming the ladies in turn. You feel as though his warmth for what he likes – talented piano playing, or shy reporter Jean Craddock (Maggie Gyllenhall) and her son Buddy (Jack Nation) – is genuine. You also feel the depth of his frustration of being booked to play at a bowling alley, being unable to buy his favorite whiskey, and how deeply his reliance on drinking runs. Similarly, Gyllenhall strikes a perfect balance of vulnerable yet iron-strong, reserving herself for the truly meaningful things.
The music is phenomenal. I can appreciate 'old country' with twangy and acoustic guitars, maybe a piano and a fiddle, and lyrics that tell a story. Crazy Heart also surfaces how elusive – and easy to take for granted – talent is. Blake gets on stage and performs relatively well while half falling-down drunk and writes an amazing song while laying in bed picking out a tune on his guitar.
I also have to acknowledge the late 70s model Suburban which shuttles Blake throughout the southwest on his tour dates. An old Suburban can be a fine, fine vehicle for road trips and hauling the essentials.
· Like a tale well told – even if it isn't really a unique story
· Like to see people playing musicians in their natural habitat
· Are a fan of any of the main actors (with the exception of Colin Farrell…he doesn't have a very big role)
Put it in the queue!
However, if you:
· Don't like concert video-style footage
· Absolutely cannot appreciate country music in any form
· Don't want to see Jeff Bridges loafing about shirtless
Don't put it in the queue.