‘Crazy Heart’ Review

29 Apr

Crazy Heart

Starring: Jeff Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhaal

Director: Scott Cooper

A washed-up, alcoholic country singer is the type of character it took for Jeff Bridges to win his first Best Actor Oscar this past awards season.  Crazy Heart tells the story of Bad Blake (Bridges), a man on a journey, who’s trying to make ends meet by playing for whoever will listen and whoever will pay him, even if that means playing in a bowling alley.

Content with drinking his whiskey by day and making music by night, Bad meets Jean (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a local journalist whom he finds to be more interesting than the run of the mill townies he’s used to.  After spending a few nights together, Bad moves onto his next gig and isn’t sure whether he will see Jean again or not.

Bad’s stubborn attitude is what stands between him and a chance at resurrecting his career.  He’s given the opportunity to open for Tommy Sweet (Colin Farrell), a former protegé of his.  He is reluctant to play second fiddle to someone he taught the game to.  Realizing that he can’t support himself or his drinking habits without money coming in, he decides to take the job.

Jean and her son come to visit Bad and during one of his many drinking binges, he loses Jean’s son.  Jean has had enough and packs her bags to head back home.  With the loss of two more people he cared deeply for, Bad must either clean up his life or die miserable and alone.

Bridges was meant to play this role.  I can’t seen anyone else being able to accomplish what he did with the character of Bad.  Along with the accolades he received for this film, he gave actors, directors and viewers everywhere an opportunity to watch a no-frills, no special effects, straight up dramatic performance.

Gyllenhaal is a magical actress.  The emotion she brings to the characters she plays is unlike any other actress of her caliber.  Whether she’s playing drug addicts, sex-obsessed secretaries or an average mother, she always gives performances that are heartbreaking.

Farrell was the surprise of this small film.  Playing Tommy Sweet was the sort of role Farrell needed as a reboot for his career.  After many years of extracurricular activities that soured his name in Hollywood, he gave an uncredited performance as a country singer.  He is so brilliant in the smaller, independent films he makes.

The other character that must be mentioned is the music in the film.  Sung mainly by Bridges and Farrell, the soundtrack is beautiful.  Not only is the film about music, but it lays the foundation for the emotion felt by the characters throughout the film.  The lyrics are raw and real and Bridges put every ounce of himself into singing the songs as his character.

This character-driven film is outstanding.  The performances are first class and the music tears at your soul.  This is definitely worth checking out; especially in the age of films like Avatar, Crazy Heart shows how a human acting and portraying a character won’t ever be outshined by CGI effects.


4 Responses to “‘Crazy Heart’ Review”

  1. Frank Mengarelli May 2, 2010 at 10:23 pm #

    I just love how his character is framed in the film – we are expecting someone completely different – and then in walks this gracious and humbled man in Blake’s presence.

    • Carrie May 2, 2010 at 10:31 pm #

      I get that. I was quite surprised with his voice. I downloaded ‘The Weary Kind’ from the soundtrack, but I’ll probably get the others too. That goes to show the power of the music, because the whole country thing is usually not what I’d choose to listen to.

  2. Frank Mengarelli May 2, 2010 at 9:45 pm #

    I thought that Colin Farrell was almost – just almost as good as Jeff Bridges…

    • Carrie May 2, 2010 at 9:53 pm #

      I wouldn’t go that far, but I did think he did a good job. He’s more successful, artisticly anyways, when he does more of the indie fare as opposed to say, S.W.A.T.

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