A review of Crazy Heart

Posted on April 23, 2010

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Crazy Heart just came out on DVD and so I am reviewing it since it’s a good reflection of the difficulty of the creative process.

You learn everything about the country singer Bad Blake within the first 5 minutes of this movie. The rest of the story is spent watching him painfully unravel right in front of your eyes. Crazy Heart is simple film about a one time semi-famous country singer that has now faded into obscurity after too many marriages, too much alcohol, and too much time on the road. Now relegated to sharing his brilliant music at remote bowling alleys across the mid-west, Bad Blake is only a shadow of the once potentially great country singer from decades earlier. It’s after he meets a special gal (Maggie Gyllenhaal) and her 4 year old son that he eventually finds some redemption and peace by the end of the story.

There really isn’t too much to dissect here. There is little story and little conflict which is part of the charm of this little film. Crazy Heart is about a man, his guitar, and the process of song crafting. It’s a slow plodding story as Blake sojourns back and forth between remote towns between Arizona and Texas. This movie conjured up feelings of sitting on an old rickety porch, drinking sweet tea, and gnawing on some jerky. You may not have accomplished a lot but it sure felt good.

Almost the entire film rests on the acting chops of Jeff Bridges- and he does not disappoint. He convincingly brings to life the fictional character of Bad Blake and makes you wonder if he really did existed. His depiction of this lonely soul is kin to the likes of a Waylon Jennings or Willie Nelson. The best part is Bridges performs his own songs with the mastery and flare of both Jennings and Nelson. Without Bridges, this film would not have been nearly as successful nor enjoyable.

Growing up in Texas and a fan of country music, I identified with this movie. Not sure how the wider audience will respond but I found it honest, vulnerable, and redeeming. Bridges earns his Oscar nomination with this one. However, because its such a character piece, I wouldn’t be too eager to watch it again anytime soon. I would recommend it to anyone who is a fan of county, Jeff Bridges, a musician, song writer, or loves whiskey.

Read more of my reviews at www.BabbleOn5.com

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Posted in: Creative Leaders