Crazy Heart (15)

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The ViewBirmingham Review

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Review byMatthew Turner18/02/2010

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 115 mins

Well written, superbly directed and powerfully emotional drama featuring a terrific performance from Jeff Bridges that all but guarantees his Oscar for Best Actor.

What's it all about?
Written and directed by Scott Cooper, Crazy Heart is based on a 1987 novel by Thomas Cobb and stars Jeff Bridges as Bad Blake, a 57-year-old, alcoholic, former country and western star who's reduced to playing bars and bowling alleys across the country just to keep the booze flowing. However, when he tentatively begins a relationship with aspiring music journalist Jean (Maggie Gyllenhaal), he gets a glimpse of a better life, particularly when he bonds with her four-year-old son Buddy (Jack Nation).

Meanwhile, Bad's agent persuades him to open for his former protege Tommy Sweet (Colin Farrell), who's now a huge star in his own right but has never forgotten the debt he owes Bad. Tommy offers Bad a shot at a comeback of sorts when he asks him to write some new songs for him, but Bad confesses to Jean that he stopped writing songs years ago.

The Good
Essentially this is The Wrestler with country music (and a large helping of 1983's Tender Mercies on the side) and while it's fair to say that the plot isn't particularly original, the film is elevated by a terrific central performance by Jeff Bridges that has already won him a Golden Globe and looks certain to land him an Oscar in a few weeks time. Bearing a remarkable resemblance to Kris Kristofferson, Bridges is breathtakingly good as Bad – there's a likeable, twinkly-eyed quality and a warmth to his character that shines through even at his lowest moments.

Maggie Gyllenhaal is equally good as Jean and there's a sweet chemistry between her and Bridges so that we desperately hope things will work out between Jean and Bad, particularly when we see the positive effect Bad has on Buddy. There's also strong support from Farrell (who makes the most of a relatively brief role) and Robert Duvall as Bad's straight-talking best friend.

The Great
In addition, the dialogue is excellent throughout and there's a fantastic soundtrack with specially written songs by T-Bone Burnett and Stephen Bruton that add considerably to the film.

Worth seeing?
In short, Crazy Heart is a superbly directed, powerfully emotional drama with an unmissable central performance from Jeff Bridges. Highly recommended.

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Content updated: 23/07/2018 02:57

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