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Friday, January 15, 2010

Movie Review: Crazy Heart

Crazy Heart - A Fox Searchlight Release


Release Date: January 15th, 2009

Rated 14A for coarse language and substance abuse

Running time: 111 minutes

Scott Cooper (dir.)

Scott Cooper (writer)

Thomas Cobb (novel)

Stephen Bruton (music)

T-Bone Burnett (music)

Jeff Bridges as Bad Blake

James Kean as Manager

Ryan Bingham as Tony

Maggie Gyllenhaal as Jean Craddock

Robert Duvall as Wayne

Colin Farrell as Tommy Sweet

Our reviews below:


Crazy Heart Review By John C.

***1/2 (out of 4)

Jeff Bridges gives an excellent performance in Crazy Heart, playing a washed-up country singer, Bad Blake. Performing in bars and bowling alleys, and barely staying sober through these shows, Blake starts to develop feelings for a younger reporter, Jean Craddock (excellently played by Maggie Gyllenhaal), who is doing an interview with him. Though she has a 4-year-old son, who is her main priority.

Though the concept may not be the most original, the story is told in a fresh and real way. Never contrived and always believable. The film doesn’t quite go where you might expect, but I thought that every note it hit was the right one.

The film has, understandably, been drawing comparisons to last year’s The Wrestler. Though this film is not as dirty and gritty, and doesn’t quite pack the same, raw emotional punch. But because it’s not dealing with issues of underground wrestling, it doesn’t have any of the brutal violence of The Wrestler. Though it should be noted that both films are excellent in their own ways.

The soundtrack is made up of some excellent country music, and also features the new single “The Weary Kind”, written by Ryan Bingham. A prime, very deserving candidate for Best Original Song at the Oscars.

Crazy Heart is sweet and true, and just rough enough around the edges to keep things interesting. And it’s kept fully grounded by excellent, Oscar-worthy performances and a very good story. This is a great little film, and the best of the year so far.


Crazy Heart Review By Erin V.

**** (out of 4)

Crazy Heart is about Bad Blake (Jeff Bridges), a down on his luck country singer, who is past his prime days of his career. He's not really writing new songs anymore, and is playing in small bowling alleys and bars across the country. In one such small town in New Mexico, he meets reporter Jean Craddock (Maggie Gyllenhaal), and starts to want to change his life for the better somewhat. Still, old habits die hard, and this film is the story of a journey about at that point in your life, where decisions need to be made, and you have to make them before it's too late.

Crazy Heart a low-key movie, that feels very down to earth and real in it's execution. While boasting strong performances from the entire cast, it is Jeff Bridges that stands out in this one, as he carries the movie, through his believable performance as country singer Bad Blake. It will not be surprising to me at all to see an acting nom for him for this one.

I also really enjoyed the music in this film. Ordinarily, I am not really a country music fan - it's just not the style of music I really listen to - but here, I found it worked so well and really added to my enjoyment of the film. The song, The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart), will surely be a contender for Best Song this awards season, and deservedly so. It is a very easy to listen to and memorable song that is sung well by Jeff Bridges.

Compared, due to it's similar type of story, to The Wrestler, I must say that I enjoyed this film more. It could be that I am more interested in any kind of music than wrestling, but I think it was also because, unlike The Wrestler, this is a much easier to watch film, since it doesn't have any of the same violent, or extreme sexual content. Still, both are good films in their own right, and I by no means intend to bring one down over the other. Just, personally, I liked Crazy Heart quite a bit more.

I would definitely recommend going to see this one in theatres. Especially if you are into music - no matter what kind - I think you will really enjoy this one. It seems to be one of the better films opening this month, and I can tell you, it is well worth the time and money.


Crazy Heart Review By Nicole

***1/2 (out of 4)

Crazy Heart is a believable, down to earth film about love, country music, and getting older. This is the story of Bad Blake, a 57 year old alcoholic country singer who is past his prime. He now sings in bars and bowling alleys, entertaining locals. When a young reporter, and a single mother, Jean interviews Bad Blake he finds himself falling in love with her and her 4 year old son, Buddy.

Crazy Heart is a very accessible film. Jeff Bridges performance as Bad Blake is excellent, as are Maggie Gyllenhaal as Jane and Colin Farrel as Blake's successor, Tommy Sweet.

Being a film about music, this movie a a lot of good songs, including the theme song The Weary Kind. Whether a country music fan or not, Crazy Heart is a touching movie that adults and teens will enjoy.


Crazy Heart Review By Maureen

***1/2 (out of 4)

"Crazy Heart' is a sweet and honest portrayal of an aging, alcoholic country singer, Bad Blake. From the opening gig in a dingy bowing alley we know that Blake's career has seen better days. "Crazy Heart' is a road trip movie following Blake as he goes from one booze-filled show to another. Along the way Bad Blake meets single mother and reporter, Jean and 'Crazy Heart' becomes a sweet love story.

What makes 'Crazy Heart' so watchable is Jeff Bridge's completely believable, and heartfelt performance as country singer Bad Blake. 'Crazy Heart' is a movie about country music and it delivers with old musical performances by Jeff Bridges. There are some really good songs in the Crazy Heart soundtrack, including the main theme song, "The Weary Kind."

The rest of the "Crazy Heart' cast is also excellent. Maggie Gyllenhal works well as Jean, Blake's love interest and his inspiration for change and songwriting. Colin Ferrell performs well as Tommy Sweet, the successful country singer that Bad Blake mentored in his earlier years. It's also nice seeing Robert Duval as Bad Blake's friend.

Overall, this movie works from start to finish. The story is low-key but touching, the performances excellent all around and the music entertaining. You don't have to be a hard core country music fan to appreciate "Crazy Heart". This one's worth seeing in theatres but due to language, and content for older teens and adults only. Watch for "Crazy Heart' come Oscar nomination time.


Crazy Heart Review By Tony

***1/2 (out of 4)

Bad Blake (Jeff Bridges) is a grizzled hard-drinking chain-smoking country singer/songwriter who at 57 has been working bars, bowling alleys, and other small venues on the road for some 40 years, now mainly to middle-aged fans. Already married and divorced four times, he becomes involved with a young journalist Jean (Maggie Gyllenhaal) in Santa Fe NM before going back to his home base in Houston TX where his old friend Wayne (Robert Duvall) looks out for him. Driving alone between gigs in a 30 year old van, Bad is a bit resentful of the success of new country artist Tommy Sweet (Colin Farrell, a brilliant surprise) with his huge entourage, though Tommy graciously acknowledges Bad’s mentorship and invites him to write more songs and open for him. Laid up for several months by a car accident, Bad writes songs inspired by his recent experiences, and gradually finds a sort of redemption.

Crazy Heart might be to country music what The Wrestler was to wrestling, though the outcome is less bleak. Both films will be enjoyed by non-fans of both genres (as I am), for their intimate depictions of the people who live these lives. The casting was ideal throughout, and everyone involved in the production showed their love of the music and locales where it thrives.



Consensus: Crazy Heart is a very good film, that's fronted by excellent, Oscar-worthy performances. Particularly Jeff Bridges, who carries the movie as country singer Bad Blake. The story and music truly enhance the film. Even if you're not a big country music fan, this is one worth seeing. ***1/2 (Out of 4)


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