Crazy Heart

Film

Drama

742.743.fi.crazyheart.01.jpg

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5
Rate this
 

Time Out says

Tue Feb 16 2010

Movies about country musicians tend to go one of two ways. First, there are those inspired by true events, films like ‘Coal Miner’s Daughter’or ‘Walk the Line’, which explore the rise of a legend: all one-room shacks, abusive parents and acres of gingham. Then there are stories inspired by the songs themselves: tales of hardship and loss, redemption and self-discovery, saloon bars, acoustic guitars and gallons of sippin’ whisky.

‘Crazy Heart’ falls squarely into the latter bunch. Jeff Bridges plays Bad Blake, a one-time Nashville big hitter reduced to touring Midwestern dives picking up loose change and loose women, his livelihood in even worse shape than his liver. That is, until two events conspire to turn his sinking ship around: a relationship with Maggie Gyllenhaal’s Jean promises the kind of unflinching affection and familial grounding Blake badly needs, and a gig writing songs for one-time protégé-turned-megastar Tommy Sweet (Colin Farrell) provides a much-needed jolt for his career.

In purely story terms this is by-the-numbers stuff, ticking all the expected boxes about redemption and renewal. But writer-director Scott Cooper’s trick is to turn that predictability into a strength: like a song you’ve heard a thousand times but which never fails to tug the heartstrings, ‘Crazy Heart’ feels familiar, even comforting, offering few surprises but a wealth of lovingly crafted, immaculately judged, wholly authentic emotion.

The emotion is there in the soundtrack put together by Cooper and producing legend T-Bone Burnett, with new songs by Burnett and Ryan Bingham sitting perfectly alongside obvious inspirations like Townes van Zandt and Waylon Jennings. It’s also in Cooper’s solid direction: despite his inexperience, he never falls prey to flashy first-time director syndrome, confident that his screenplay and cast will carry him through.

And it’s in those remarkable central performances: Bridges has already earned an Oscar nomination, but it’s impossible to overstate how much his honest, unabashed performance – part The Dude, part Kris Kristofferson – grounds the film. He’s backed by a sympathetic Gyllenhaal, making magic from a potentially thankless role, and a convincing turn from Farrell as the preening bigshot in cowboy clothes. But best of all is Robert Duvall, who essentially defined the subgenre with ‘Tender Mercies’ back in 1983, and whose quiet, deeply felt turn as a bar owner reminds us of his undimmed but underused talent.

A shame, then, that the movie falls at the final hurdle with a series of crude, convenient feelgood twists, leading to an abrupt, unconvincing finale. If Cooper and his cast hadn’t done their work so well, hadn’t made us care so deeply for these fractured souls, maybe it wouldn’t matter. As it is, ‘Crazy Heart’ is only two-thirds a great movie: but like the song says, that ain’t bad.
0

Reviews

Add +

Release details

UK release:

Fri Feb 19, 2010

Duration:

112 mins

Users say

0
<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

2.6 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:1
  • 4 star:2
  • 3 star:3
  • 2 star:3
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|10
1 person listening
RICH

STRICTLY A GOOD OLD BOY MOVIE,NO STORY GOOD ACTING SOMEWHAT DEGRADING

mark2you

Bridges derserves an Oscar. I've known alcohgolics - my son is one. there is nothing heroic about it but Bridges brings humanity to this aspect of the film. Ryan Bingham's music is outstanding - check out his CD Mescalito. The film? Great. Dingy, miserable, celebratory, real quality, a dirty diamond that your attention will make shine. Go and enjoy. Peopled wqith characters you would cross the road to spend time with even if you didn't like their taste in clothes.

mark2you

Bridges derserves an Oscar. I've known alcohgolics - my son is one. there is nothing heroic about it but Bridges brings humanity to this aspect of the film. Ryan Bingham's music is outstanding - check out his CD Mescalito. The film? Great. Dingy, miserable, celebratory, real quality, a dirty diamond that your attention will make shine. Go and enjoy. Peopled wqith characters you would cross the road to spend time with even if you didn't like their taste in clothes.

Kolya Gelsin

a ponderous turgid predictable Hollywood pseudo epic road movie; Bridges is good but only has to play the same thing for the whole movie - a life-weary alcoholic slob with a fine voice; the music's good, sometimes very good, but there are long stretches where there's little music; Gylenhall is winsome but unconvincing, an older woman would have made the story more believable; Farrell is pretty poor; the story from the conversion to AA on is awful schmaltz (except the music)

Joe

A sleep-inducing film for old people, not redeemed even by Jeff Bridges' fine performance. And if you're not put off by the snail's pace at which the story crawls along, you probably will be by the abysmal acting from Colin Farrell! Pairing the immense ability of Jeff Bridges with a one-dimensional, talentless poser like Farrell was a big mistake. Save your time and money and go for a drink with your mates instead.

s ford

Take 'The Wrestler' take out Mickey Rourke's wonderful performance put in a ok one by the Dude. Now swap wrestling for country music, and a great Marisa Tomei for the queen of annoying Maggie Gylenhall and you have Crazy Heart. Go watch 'The Wrestler' instead.

Tom McMaster

Really enjoyed this film. The music was great, but wish there had been more of it. Jeff Bridges thoroughly deserved his Oscar for this gem of a movie. I highly recommend it.

Dicky

Not being a big country and western fan, I hadn’t got this film high on my list. But, as time conspired against me to see another film, I saw Crazy Heart, and was pleasantly surprised. Jeff Bridges puts in a very good performance as Bad Blake – certainly Oscar nomination worthy. As Tom Huddleston (TO) says, towards half way through I found myself guessing where the storyline might go, and indeed it did. I’d be surprised if Jeff Bridges won best actor on 7th March – unfortunately the script lets him down, not his ability to act. Nonetheless, it’s a good film, if a little clichéd. It's a great advert for looking after your liver and staying focused on the important things in life.