Having won an Oscar award for one of the best actors of my time, I have no idea why it took me so long to catch “Crazy Heart” on DVD. I totally missed it in theaters and then I took my good ol’ time to see it at home and usually this kind of movie I would want to see the moment it came out. But I didn’t…and the wait didn’t hurt me any.
“Crazy Heart” is a good enough film. It’s got Jeff Bridges, as good an actor as you’ll find these days, and Maggie Gyllenhaal and Robert Duvall. It’s got a decent script and some amazing country music. But there’s something about this film that I didn’t quite latch onto and I will get to that in a moment. First off…what’s it about?
Bad Blake is an old time country performer. He travels from town to town, sleeping in flea-bag hotels and sleeping with any woman who flashes him a smile. He’s a hard drinker and an unmotivated to write any more songs because he figures the ones he’s already written are good enough. Meanwhile, a performer that he trained to play guitar (Colin Ferrell in a fantastic role that is understated) has made it big and now Bad wants what’s coming to him. That’s the premise anyway and the kicker is that along the way, he finds love and this is where the movie goes a little awry.
Not that a 57-year old alcoholic can’t find himself a 30-something woman who finds him to be the most fascinating man in the world, but odds are, if there IS such a relationship going on, she doesn’t look like Maggie Gyllenhaal. And no matter how plain you make her, she is a unique beauty that makes this film almost borderline ridiculous…because it would NEVER happen.
I’m not going to get into the phsychological side of this film. As all movies of this type tend to do, it gets pretty deep with everyone having issues and sharing their troubles and I understand that it’s within these storylines where the actors get their work in. With mood lighting and smoke drifting from cigarette after cigarette, Bad has all kinds of issues and each one is brought out in dramatic fashion and Bridges carries all the weight with remarkable ease. But when the 2 main characters are together, it seems kind of creepy. Age differences aside, Gyllenhaal’s Jean is a divorced mother who has had no luck with men. She says at one point that she has been through quite a few failed relationships yet she openly pursues THIS old codger? I don’t get it and it’s kind of distracting throughout the rest of the movie.
I personally enjoyed the fact that Bad is a loner, someone who’s not afraid to cuss out his agent and who lives by his own standards, even if his standards are low. And if he is going to become a better person, have him do so on his own. Instead, this film shows him going to rehab (in a very brief scene) and making good with his life. It all happens way to fast and then there’s a flash forward and then it’s over. I didn’t care for that at all and was sorely disappointed by the way it all just fell together for Bad in the end. But that’s just me. I like to see people suffer a little, I suppose.
So go rent “Crazy Heart”. If anything, just to watch Bridges’ performance. It’s a character much like Mickey Roarke’s “The Wrestler” last year that seemed to be taylor made for him. And enjoy the music and the cinematography, which are top notch! But overall, this little movie is NOT Oscar material…just a decent film with some remarkable actors who are at the top of their game right now.
Overall Rating: B-