Alcoholic country crooner Bad Blake (Jeff Bridges) is playing gigs across the Southwest at unknown saloons, tiny bars and even a bowling alley. With no new songs in years and his unpredictability due to his drinking, washed up Bad is living in the shadow of his former protégé Tommy Sweet, a huge star in the new wave of young Nashville.
Bad grants his first interview in years to a young, unknown writer Jean (Maggie Gyllenhaal). During their interview, the chemistry is electric. Their banter is easy. They possess a comfort level unique between strangers. When Jean asks him about his four marriages and kids, the spell is broken and the interview is over. They agree to meet again the next night. The unlikely pair can’t fight the attraction. With his addiction to whiskey and her affliction for bad boys, can they forge a future?
His agent Jack (Paul Herman) presses him to write songs again and make his way back up. Jack secures him a gig headlining for Tommy Sweet (Colin Farrell). It bring a crushing blow to Bad’s ego. He wants the big bucks but he can’t stand to be an opener and for the star who has surpassed him. Bad balances his life with Jean and her son Buddy, his life on the road and his drinking. He’s even inspired to write until he hits a series of snags that lead to a life-altering rock-bottom.
We don’t meet Tommy Sweet until 42 minutes in but we have heard about him so much, he deserves a drumroll advancing into the shot. The cast is an eclectic delight. The friendship between Wayne (Robert Duvall) and Bad give us perspective into the two men. Bridges as Bad comes alive on stage and provides glimpses into Bad’s past glory. (Bridges and Farrell contributed their own singing.)
Based on the eponymous novel by Thomas Cobb, the movie scored Bridges a Best Actor Oscar, Golden Globe and several other awards. Crazy Heart isn’t a new story but the writing and cast make it a worthwhile viewing. Several folks told me they liked the it despite the country music. I loved the music. If you don’t like the music, you can blame Nashville.
Co-writer/Director: Scott Cooper
Run time: 106 minutes