Crazy Heart fits the bill of what most people consider your typical county and western song. There is an old cowboy who thinks his talent has dried up. He lives a life on the road, broke and without much happiness. He has been married too many times, works too little, and drinks too much. Jeff Bridges gives an outstanding performance transforming the man from such a song into a real singer/songwriter as Bad Blake who is all of the previously mentioned things and more.
Bad Blake is an old talent who is falling behind the scenes and falling behind on everything else too. He is lonely most of the time and seeks the company of alcohol and strange women to satisfy him and when they don’t, he drinks more. This classic tale is brought to life by Jeff Bridges as the part of Bad Blake. He travels from town to town singing in dumps to try and earn a dollar. His career is going nowhere and his life is right behind his career. While playing a show in Santa Fe, NM, he meets the niece of a band member who reports on music talents and agrees to an interview. Maggie Gyllenhaal plays the part of Jean, the reporter and woman who see’s beneath the rough exterior of Bad and believes he has something to offer. They embark in a romantic relationship which is done well enough to be believable. Jean tries her best to get Bad to be a little better and slow down on the drinking. She shows him he has a true talent which must not be overlooked by himself or sold short and tells of how his talent comes so easy to him when others try their whole lives to obtain an ounce of something similar.
Bad has a unique relationship with his agent but his agent is also trying to get Bad to work for his money and understand, when you are at the bottom, you take what you can get. He gets a gig for Blake to open of an old friend Tommy Sweet, played by Colin Farrell, but given their history Bad doesn’t want to do it. In the end, the need for money wins out and he agrees. This turns out to be a big gig but is only a one time pay check. Tommy, trying to help and stating he has never forgotten where he got his start, tries to convince Bad to write him some new material to perform and offers to pay him handsomely to do so. Bad, has some choices to make all of which will affect his future. Does he do what he feels is selling out and write the songs for Tommy, does he take the time to seriously peruse Jean and does he change his lifestyle to one which will allow him to do both? He will rely on his bar tending friend, a role played by the always great Robert Duvall, to help him find the answers and maybe, just maybe, find the life he wants but doesn’t know it yet.
I have to say, Jeff Bridges did a fantastic job and played the part of an old drunken county star with near perfection. Both he and Colin Ferrell performed the songs themselves and did so with such ease you have a hard time believing it was really them and not a voice-over. The set was most definitely New Mexico with no mistakes and the dress was perfectly appropriate. This movie brought some laughs, some sadness, some pity and some of the opposite for a man who wouldn’t save himself…or will he?
ADVISE: Splurge! (This movie has only been released in select theaters and won’t stay long so don’t wait!)