Crazy Heart 2010 Movie Scene Jeff Bridges as Bad Blake performing on stage

Crazy Heart [2009]

Some actors have that special quality that enables them to give performances that basically carry the entire movie. And Jeff Bridges is one of those great actors. His career is long and fruitful and this movie is just further proof of his greatness. Crazy Heart is an emotional, authentic, and gripping drama based on an award-winning Thomas Cobb novel. That novel is actually based on the very real life of country singer Hank Thompson. We find Hank, or should I say, Blake, because that’s his name in this movie, at the end of his career. He’s a full-blown alcoholic playing in shitholes across the country. 

However, one chance encounter will change everything in his life. The story feels rather familiar, featuring a jaded and nihilistic hero accidentally stumbling upon redemption. And yet it feels oddly compelling and heartfelt. And not just because of Jeff’s Oscar-winning performance. There’s a little of Blake in each and every one of us. I know what you’re thinking right now: hey Rabbit, isn’t there another biopic that features a strikingly similar story? Well, yes, yes there is. Walk The Line, starring Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash is the movie in question. The difference between them is in the scale.

Walk The Line is a much bigger movie while this is a rather personal story that’s going to hit you in a different way. Character development is flawless, bolstered by strong performances from the entire cast. And I’m talking about some really good actors here like Robert Duvall, Colin Farrell, and Maggie Gyllenhaal. Now, I wish the story was a bit better but I understand why they kept it this way. It opens up your heart to fully experience everything you see on the screen. To be more precise, not just what you see on the screen but also what you can hear during those scenes.

I’m no fan of country music by any means but I have to admit that the soundtrack for Crazy Heart is crazy good. I especially liked the song The Weary Kind and I still listen to it occasionally. It perfectly fits not just the story but also the mood of this movie. This blend of nihilistic and hedonistic urges set against the Americana backdrop. Sure, the pacing could be better but this way you can fully immerse yourself in the story. And this is coming from someone who’s not the greatest fan of these indie dramedies looking to steal your heart. I think there’s also a strong element of escapism here.

Would you like to be Blake, just for a little while? To live that kind of life, unconstrained by work, family, friends, and everything else? Just you, a bottle of whiskey, a pack of cigarettes, and a seat on the stage, letting you do what you enjoy doing. And what you have been doing very successfully for most of your life. Moreover, when the show is over, you’re goddamn sure that there will be an interested lady waiting for you in the crowd. And if you end up in your hotel room, so be it. I know I sure would like to take that kind of road trip.

Granted, we will get a bit of cliched romance here but I guess that’s something we simply had to have. After all, this is a movie that’s based on true events. Finally, if you’re looking for movies like Crazy Heart, I recommend you check out The Wrestler. It features a story about another washed-up star doing what he knows best despite everything that’s going on.

Director: Scott Cooper

Writers: Scott Cooper, Thomas Cobb

Cast: Jeff Bridges, James Keane, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Colin Farrell, Robert Duvall, Paul Herman

Fun Stuff: Both Jeff Bridges and Colin Farrell sang in this movie and it’s their actual voices you hear on the soundtrack. They practiced with famous voice coach Roger Love although Jeff already has one album behind him (Be Here Soon – 2010).


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