by Sawyer J. Lahr
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Golden Globe winner Jeff Bridges is Bad Blake, a burned out once-famous real country singer who feels undercut by the rise of his young pop-country apprentice, Tommy Sweet played with white-trash grit by Colin Ferrel. Robert Duvall plays a small supporting role as a wise recovered alcoholic bar owner and old friend of Bad.
Maggie Gyllenhaal makes an otherwise disgraceful woman into a flawed but respectable awkward romantic lead. Once an irresponsible country girl named Jean Craddock got her act together, she became a reporter for a Santa Fe local newspaper. Odds are having a son tamed her crazy heart until she bumped into Bad’s reckless libido.
Jean gets off course by romancing an unattractive Bridges, but his charm should not be understated. She at least has enough decency to put Bridges in his place and maintain her fractured dignity. Her need for a man has more to do with her loneliness and absence of family than with financial struggle.
The film’s original music holds its own and seems to stick true to its purported origins. Bridges cracks many humorous and charming one-liners that break up the sorry state of Bad Blake’s drunken stumbling through life.
Crazy Heart comes at a time when a country music has forgotten its beginnings. Today’s singers owe much to the great artists many of whose names are dropped in the film. Being raised on pop-country makes this reviewer appreciate the revival of better country music. The folksy lyrical wisdom and melancholy twang of musician Ryan Bingham’s Golden Globe-Winning song, “The Weary Kind”, goes right to the heart of this film’s message.
Sawyer J. Lahr is Chief Editor of the forthcoming online publication, Go Over the Rainbow. He also writes a monthly film column for Mindful Metropolis, a conscious living magazine in Chicago, IL.
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