“Crazy Heart” Is The Perfect Career Topper For Jeff Bridges
There’s something about country music that is so easily romanticized. Not the soulless Nashville hit parade, I am talking about the kind of music that is being performed by people that really mean what they’re singing. Just hearing that old, heartfelt country music conjures up all of the stereotypical imagery that goes along with it. You see the smoke-filled bars, the boots on wooden floors, the half-empty whiskey bottles; all images that pop up just with the sound of steel guitar. “Crazy Heart” is a movie about an aged country singer that not only showcases those romanticized stereotypes, it embraces them wholly.
Jeff Bridges is Bad Blake. Honestly, there really isn’t any other sentence to describe it. Quite frankly, if Bridges doesn’t win the Best Actor Oscar, there should be a p0lice robbery investigation. There aren’t any over the top redemption moments, no rousing speeches, no emoting rallying cries, just a character that is so lived in that it seems like a true story.
You know who Bad Blake is after about ten minutes. When he pulls up to a bowling alley (which is his next gig) in his ’78 Suburban, you know that he’s very much down on his luck. You also find out that he is a beloved member of the country music community, still adored by hundreds of aged country music fans. Unfortunately, the only thing this gets him is a free room, a couple bucks per performance, and the occasional free bottle of whiskey. Bad’s last hint at success came from writing several hit songs for Nashville megastar Tommy Sweet (Colin Farrell).
Prior to a show in Santa Fe, Bad is interviewed by Jean (Maggie Gyllenhaal) for a local newspaper. They begin to fall for each other and Bad develops an adorable relationship with her young son Buddy. If not for Bad’s charm, wit, and heart, there is no chance I would believe that Jean would fall for a drunken, chain-smoking, 60-year old has-been.
The fact that Bridges sings and plays guitar on all of the Bad Blake tunes in the movie adds to the sheer genius in his performance. Actually, in his short time on screen, Colin Farrell really sings and there is a duet with he and Bridges that is actually worth putting on your iPod.
As one could guess, things don’t go so great for Bad and Jean. Bad’s destructive alcoholism eventually gets the best of him and he is forced to make some life choices. Of course, it’s helpful to have Robert Duvall as your best friend to help you get through some rough times.
“Crazy Heart” simply is a wonderful movie that avoids all of the cliches and emotional traps that a movie like this can fall into. It’s a wonderful script by first time director Scott Cooper and has several good supporting performances by Gyllenhaal, Farrell, and most notably, Robert Duvall.
No matter what, this movie will be remembered for Jeff Bridges’ fantastic performance. It’s so natural, believable, and true. Bad Blake is a perfect way for Bridges to be rewarded for an understated career spanning over thirty years.