A burned-out country musician finds some
inspiration in a new romance with a single mother.
Crazy Heart (2009)
Written and Directed by Scott Cooper
Starring Jeff Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Robert Duvall,
Colin Farrell, James Keane, Jack Nation
Based on the novel by Thomas Cobb
Oscar Wins - Best Actor (Jeff Bridges), Best Original Song
(The Weary Kind)
Oscar Nominations - Best Supporting Actress (Maggie Gyllenhaal)
It's taken me far too long to sit down and watch Jeff Bridges's long overdue Oscar-winning performance. I'd heard mixed things, surprisingly. Some said it was well-deserved, while others lamented a career win that he should've gotten for The Big Lebowski. We all love Lebowski, but Bridges is so much more than just The Dude. He's a versatile character actor who wholeheartedly deserved his win for Crazy Heart. He brings a nuanced pain and regret to Bad Blake that keeps this film from becoming too sappy or melodramatic. In short, it's the role he deserved to win for.
Once a famous country star, Bad Blake (Bridges) has been reduced to playing bowling alleys and dive bars during the twilight years of his career. He's an alcoholic with four failed marriages and a son he never talks to. But then he meets Jean (Gyllenhaal), a single mother who gives him a second chance at a life worth living. He makes good with his old friend turned rival Tommy Sweet (Farrell) and his career is on an upswing. But Blake's drinking sours the relationship, and he has to make a choice between the bottle and love. Bridges sells every moment of Blake's redemption story, and does a phenomenal job with the songs too.
Crazy Heart is an entertaining music drama in the same vein as A Star is Born. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if Bradley Cooper drew from Bridges's performance in his version of that story. Regardless, this film is one of Bridges's best and a humanizing look at the life of a burned-out musician with a little gas still left in the tank.