February 5, 2010
Review - " Crazy Heart " - (in theaters) By Roland Hansen
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But then he meets Jean, a pert young journalist who takes an interest in him – and his interest in her makes him reassess his
This is a pretty conventional movie — far more so than “The Wrestler,” which knew as well as its hero did that he’d already
used up all his second chances. It’s a conventionally pretty one, too — Maggie Gyllenhaal’s small-town reporter can afford a
large and lovely house, and rehab is presented as a pleasant vacation.
And while the appearance of Robert Duvall in a small part is welcome at first, it becomes distracting. What is striking here is
Bridges. It’s not just that he does all his own singing and playing (he’s an avid musician, in real life) or that he’s let himself so
unselfconsciously go to seed (actresses typically get Oscar attention for looking haggard, actors for showing their guts). It’s
that, as always, you simply believe him, right from the first frame, as the character. The way he lights a cigarette, beaches
himself on a motel room couch, or wearily talks to his latest local back-up band — every gesture, every gruff word, has
authority, honesty, life.
The movie could use a little more of that kind of reality. Jean’s interview techniques would give any editor hives; Blake’s road
to sobriety is awfully short and smooth. And
the main complication of the plot — a feud
with a former musical protégée (Colin Farrell,
of all people) — is never given enough
backstory to feel important or even credible.
But Scott Cooper knows what actors want: a
big, fat beefsteak of a role they can get their
teeth into. And he’s served it up here to Jeff
Bridges — no longer, perhaps, one of our
most underrated actors, but definitely one of
our most dependably great. With Crazy Heart
we get a four and a half star performance in a
three and a half star movie, one well worth
You will have to walk out which is too bad cuz
Maggie looks pretty damn good naked
(See: Secretary, Sherrybaby).
Directed by: Scott Cooper
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Robert Duvall, Colin Farrell
For nearly 40 years, Jeff Bridges has been turning in quietly perfect
performances, in great films like “The Last Picture Show” (and mediocre ones
like “The Men Who Stare at Goats”). And invariably critics write about how
underappreciated he is. Well, clearly, he’s not — although in all those years,
he’s never won an Academy Award.
Don’t be surprised, though, if “Crazy Heart” changes that.
In some ways, the film — directed by actor Scott Cooper — is a model of the
sort of parts that get nominations. Bridges plays a washed-up country singer,
struggling on the edges of show business. He’s estranged from his family,
and alone. He’s drunk and paunchy and has maybe one last show at
success. It’s like “The Wrestler,” but with gee-tars.
It’s also a lot like the films that Bridges used to make in the ’70s, low-budget
dramas of red, white and Blue-Ribbon beer America: “Fat City” or “The Last
American Hero.” Of course, in those films, Bridges used to play the kid
moving up the ladder. Now he’s the guy just hanging on.
His “Bad” Blake — his Christian name is just one of his many secrets — still
has his fans, and memories of wild nights with Merle and Willie and the rest.
But the fans are older and fewer in number, and the memories are giving way
to blackouts. When we meet him, he’s just arrived, hung over, for his latest
gig — at a bowling alley.