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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Crazy Heart a good, solid film


I don’t know what I was expecting when I went to see Crazy Heart yesterday, but I was certainly touched and moved by the story.  The film stars Jeff Bridges as Bad Blake, a washed up country singer / songwriter who now plays gigs in bars and bowling alleys.  At a gig in Santa Fe, he meets Jean (Maggie Gyllenhaal), an aspiring young reporter who knows quite a bit about him.  Although he is easily old enough to be her father, and usually sleeps with a different woman every night, the two form an almost instant attraction and soon become involved.  And no, there is no cheating.  That would be too easy. Jean has a four year old son, though, (the adorable Jack Nation) and she doesn’t want to fall in with another bad guy.    She tries to start slow with their involvement, but after Bad falls asleep at the wheel, she brings him into her home to take care of him and things begin to really heat up.  She does have one rule: don’t drink in front of her son.  Easier said than done for Bad, who is an alcoholic.
I won’t spoil anything further, as there are a few twists, and the plot is not quite predictable.  Full of great, old style country music, the film itself is a character.  Lovable, yes, but hopelessly flawed.  And despite the best of intentions, things won’t always go right.  But there are plenty of charming things in this story, not just depression.  Colin Farrell shows up as Bad’s former protege, now a superstar.  Though he has far surpassed his mentor, he clearly still looks up to Bad, and wants to do right by him.  Robert Duvall plays Wayne, Bad’s best friend, a bartender.  When Bad is at home, he plays at Wayne’s place.  With these guys behind Bad, you know immediately that no matter what he does, deep down he’s a good guy deserving of love and friendship.
I highly recommend this film.  Although I couldn’t call everything in it original, it didn’t fall into the expected traps, had something to say, and definitely invoked a few emotions before the end credits roll.  Bridges and Gyllenhaal are both up for Oscars for their roles, deservedly so, and one of the songs is also nominated.  The song and Bridges already won their categories at The Golden Globes, and the movie has plenty of other nominations and wins already.  Let’s hope it gets a couple more.

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