Star rating – 7/10
Jeff Bridges certainly deserves his Oscar for this fabulous performance as an old alcoholic faded country star, Bad Blake, who has fallen on hard times, and expanded his waistline in the process, and is forced to play bowling alleys instead of packed arenas. He drinks so much he has to go off mid set to be sick outside in a bin – not very glamorous.
The central performances in Crazy Heart are very strong, Bridges aside, Maggie Gyllenhaal shines as a much younger single mother Jean, who somehow falls for Bad whilst doing an interview with him for a local paper. Colin Farrell is surprising good as the country star of the moment, Tommy Sweet, who has mysteriously fallen out with Bad but who still respects him enough to ask him to support him on tour, and to write songs for him.
The story line is a bit weaker than the performances though. We never find out exactly what went wrong between Bad and Tommy, and why Bad is so quick to forgive him. The romance between Jean and Bad stretches credulity to breaking point, not that it all goes so predictably wrong, but that she would fall for him in the first place in the state he is in when she meets him. He has four failed marriages behind him and a 28 year old son who he has not seen since he was four. Apart from the hard drinking, he chain smokes and has a diet to die for – literally.
But it is a sad, poignant story of faded glory and eventual redemption. The music is great, as Bridges shows us again that he can really hold a tune. Crazy Heart is well worth seeing for Bridges superb performance alone.