A lot of people are out there saying that Crazy Heart is a resurrection of Jeff Bridges’ career. This just makes me wonder where they have been because Bridges has always been this good. I guess they missed the indie hit Iron Man or the summer blockbuster The Door in the Floor. I have been a huge fan of Bridges since my mom sat me down and made me watch Star Man and then again when I saw The Big Lebowski. Since that time he has always been at the top of my favorite actor list and I let people know that I abide when I adorn his face on a T-shirt. I guess it worked for the success of The Wrestler so why not go that route with a film that shares more or less the same subject matter.
Jeff Bridges plays Bad Blake, a country music singer at the down side of a mediocre career, he drinks and smokes at excess while he sleeps with older groupies from his recent bowling alley performance. If this whiskey-fueled hole in the wall tour isn’t enough to push Blake over the edge, the fact that Tommy Sweet a country super star that Blake brought up in the scene is selling out arenas might just force him to take another drink. The only shining light in Blake’s storm of depravity is Jean, a small time music reporter that is getting her break by interviewing Blake. During the interview the two connect and while the encounter is giving Jean a bump in her career it’s giving Blake a chance to feel again as the two find more to talk about than music. The only problem is Jean has a kid and Blake can’t stop drinking long enough to notice leading Jean to question the stability of her new found relationship.
When I went into Crazy Heart I knew that it would be a film that I was born to like as the 3 leads are on my list of favorite actors.When the credits rolled I can’t say I was disappointed Bridges, Collin Farrell, and Maggie Gyllenhaal all gave fantastic performances. Most of all was Bridges, but come on we new that just from the trailer right? In fact, I doubt many people could tell you about anyone else in the film. I can see how people would compare this performance to the job that Mickey Rourke did in The Wrestler as both roles are the same, a man looking to make up for the things he has done to people while he searched for fame. I also couldn’t think of any other actor that could have played Blake, and I felt the same way with The Wrestler. The only difference is Bridges did not need Crazy Heart to validate his career he has already done that and continues to do that. So, needless to say his performance here is outstanding and deserving of the praise it is receiving. Bridges puts his heart ans soul in to his performance so much that you can sense a relative closeness to the material. I hope if anything this performance reminds people of how great of an actor he is rather than give people the idea that his work has been less than satisfactory of late, because when Bridges is given the chance he always delivers.
Along with Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhaal gave a stand out performance as Blake’s young love interest. I may be a little bias here as I have always loved everything Maggie has done and thought she gave an award winning performance here. In my opinion the best way to test the ability of an actor is to watch them play a character that is about to hit a real low, if they can convince you that they themselves are at the end of their rope then they can do anything. Maggie does that here so well that you want to wipe the dripping mascara from her eyes and tell her everything will be ok. Maggie has an uncanny ability to pick great films and always leaves me wanting to hear what’s next as she is not afraid to challenge herself with a deeper range of characters. Her performance in Crazy Heart only left me wanting to know more about what brought her character to this point in her life giving her the ability to love a person like Blake.
That is one of the few problems I had with Crazy Heart. It is a film that may require patience for some as the the film is a slow gratifying burn. So if you like films like The Wrestler then Crazy Heart has everything you want. I thought I might have some problems getting into the musical portion of the film as I’m not country music fan, but the character’s passion for the music brought me out of that hate for a moment, though a more familiar genre of music could have engaged me more. Other than a desire for more character background information and a like of a universal taste in music, I can not find anything wrong with this film. Though Crazy Heart is not for everyone, for those of us that can enjoy the human drama that is life, it is a must see.
I give Crazy Heart 3.5 “Sexy Gyllenhaal’s” out of 5
by Ryan Davis