Crazy Heart features one of the best Jeff Bridges performances I’ve ever seen. That is definitely saying something as he has made a career of low key but brilliant performances. I admit my bias here. He is my favorite actor, as far as dramatic movies go.
The story here is also something that is very much in my wheelhouse again, as it is a music movie, telling the story of past his prime country star Bad Blake. Blake used to pack in the big arenas, but is now relegated to playing his old favorites in dive bars and bowling alleys (seeing Bridges back in a bowling alley got a giggle out of me I will admit, intentional or not).
He finds a chance at redemption when he falls in love with a much younger woman played by Maggie Gyllenhaal, who also has a young son that Blake sets about mentoring.
What I like about this movie is that is an intense but still casual and enjoyable character study in which every character feels organic and not servants of a greater plot. When the alcoholic Blake is left to supervise the young boy in a shopping mall that has a bar attached, you can guess what happens, sadly.
The music in this movie is also very good, which helps the believability of Bridges playing a formerly famous musician. Bridges also brings about a natural rock star like swagger with lines like “I can’t believe how bad you make this room look…” but is also amazingly vulnerable in scenes such as the one where he’s out on an old fishing boat with his mentor, Robert Duvall, (the two best actors of their generations respectively) or on the phone with his estranged children.
Colin Ferrell also surprised me in his role as the young up and coming star who owes a lot of his success to Bridge’s character. By the set up I thought he was going to be your standard jock douche character, but he turns out to be sympathetic in the end as well.
All in all a very good movie with good writing, acting, and yes, a lot of heart as well.
Crazy Heart gets a four out of five: GREAT.