Crazy Heart (2009)

Crazy Heart is the adaptation of Thomas Cobb’s book, directed by Scott Cooper and starring Jeff Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Colin Farrell and Robert Duvall.

Bad Blake (Jeff Bridges) once was a very successful musician, but since then, he’s become an alcoholic first and a musician second. By chance he meets Jean (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a young music journalist, and he falls in love with her. Jean is cautious because of his alcoholism, but lets him into her life – and the life of her son. At the same time, Bad gets the chance to get back on stage with his former pupil, Tommy Sweet (Colin Farrell). Life seems to go up for Bad, but things have to get worse, before they can get better.

Crazy Heart is an excellent film in some parts, in others, not so much. The performances were great but I felt like the script focussed on the wrong things. The music was wonderful, but the climactic final song was, strangely enough, not the best song.

Jeff Bridges was really very good – he deserves that Oscar. We all know that I love Maggie Gyllenhaal, and she was great again in this film. I was surprised by Colin Farrell – I keep forgetting that he can act when he wants to and his accent was really good (except for a couple of blunders). He’s also probably the only guy in the world who can pull off a pony tail. [At the very least he’s the only guy I’ve ever seen who can.]

I thought it a real pity that Colin Farrell had such a mini-role. Not only because he did such a great job, but because I thought that the relationship between Tommy and Bad was definitely more interesting than the relationship between Jean and Bad [everybody who has ever met an alcoholic knew how that relationship had to end. Though I have to admit that I thought it would be one of those old-guy-young-woman relationships where nobody understand what she sees in him, but they successfully navigated that hurdle]. But Tommy and Bad – that was a really nice take on the teacher-disciple dynamic.

I’m still torn about the music. I mean, it’s clear to me that The Weary Kind is not as good a song as Fallin’ & Flyin’ but I’m still undecided whether that is a good or a bad thing. On the one hand, the whole movie works towards the conclusion that hardship will allow you greater creative potential, that you really have to hit rock bottom to achieve your best. On the other hand, if you ignore that they want to make you believe that, it makes a lot of sense that The Weary Kind wouldn’t be as good as Fallin’ & Flyin’, while still being a very good song.

What didn’t work as well as the rest was the pacing. During the middle, the story kind of drags and it takes a pretty long time to get started. With a few tweaks here and there, you would have had a movie that included more Tommy Sweets but didn’t feel as long.

Summarising: A very good film that is worth seeing.

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