Crazy Heart (2009)
Dir: Scott Cooper
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Colin Farrell
Jeff Bridges. Pure and simple. It was Jeff Bridges that made me want to watch Crazy Heart.
I’ve been a fan of Bridges for quite a while now and when I heard of this movie where he would be playing a faded country music star, I was interested. Unfortunately, for one reason or another, I didn’t catch it at the cinema. When I joined LOVEFiLM, however, it was at the top of my rental list.
In much the same way as I was excited about the propect of Bridges portraying a tough US Marshall in True Grit, I was excited about him talking on the role of a country singer. I don’t know why, maybe it’s the hair – he has very versatile hair!
In Crazy Heart Bridges plays Bad Blake, an alcoholic country music singer-songwriter. You work out that he used to be quite the star but now his star status has lost its shine. He spends the majority of his time on the road, staying at cheap motels with a bottle of liquor close at hand.
At the request of one of his backing musicians, Bad is interviewed by Jean Craddock. Through the course of the interviews, they enter in to a relationship. Jean quickly becomes the catalyst for Bad to get his life back on track.
However, that trusty bottle of liquor is never far away…
Maggie Gyllenhaal takes on the role of Jean quite well. She did do a good job but I can think of several other actresses who would have done an equally good job, too. She does have good on screen chemistry with Bridges, however.
Though it is somewhat strange when he appears part way through the film, Colin Farrell is good as Tommy Sweet, the country music singer who has eclipsed his old mentor, Bad, in terms of popularity and record sales.
At first, you feel that your loyalty should lie with Bad. However, Tommy recognises Bad as the man who taught him everything he knows and he is fully aware that Bad is a much better songwriter than he will ever be. It is because of this that Tommy propositions Bad and requests he writes and sells songs to him.
Of course, the film belongs to Bridges and I believe that his Oscar for Best Actor is definitely deserved. He puts in a very strong performance of a man who is weary of the world. After years on the road, four (perhaps five) failed marriages and a son he doesn’t speak to, Bad certainly has had his spirit broken. Of course, the liquor hasn’t helped and in one particular scene we see Bad in his underwear curled around a toilet.
Bridges’ performance is solid and entertaining. He assumes the character of Bad so well that it doesn’t really seem like acting.
The, not that original, story may take a while to get going but it wraps up well and is supported by excellent songs and performances by Bridges and Farrell. The songs certainly are catchy and ‘The Weary Kind’, written by T-Bone Burnett and Ryan Bingham, is particularly memorable.
Crazy Heart‘s successes:
- NOMINATED Three Oscars – WON Best Actor, Best Original Song
- NOMINATED Two BAFTAs
- NOMINATED Two Golden Globes – WON Best Actor, Best Original Song
- NOMINATED One Screen Actors Guild awards – WON Best Actor