I’ve got to be straightforward by starting off saying that I am not a country music fan. Sure, I like the folks such as Johnny Cash, but when it comes right down to it, I don’t go out of my way to listen to country, instead I typically go several continents out of my way to avoid such music. That said, Crazy Heart tells the story of an aging country singer and his journey to try and get his life back on track. The music, surprisingly, did not upset me the slightest.
Jeff Bridges, playing the alcoholic country singer, looks as though he was born for the part. With messy hair and the seemingly inability to walk in a straight line, Bridges manages to give a truly solid performance. Maggie Gyllenhaal on the other hand, looks better than she has probably done in an preceding movie. I’ve never been a huge fan of her, but after viewing Crazy Heart I have a new found appreciation for the actress. The two characters are then inevitably drawn together, and while this is expected, the love that they find within the other is not. It’s a fair question to pose about what these two people, Bridges as country hoss Bad Blake and Gyllenhall as a single mom struggling to be a writer, see in each other. They are not the most formulaic couple, especially when the age difference is very noticeable and yet it works…sort of.
The movie has a fair share of fairly impressive cameos, from Colin Farrell to Robert Duvall, with every single actor successfully pulling their own weight. To see several great actors all together on the same screen is always a fun experience, and Crazy Heart manages to take advantage of the fact. Both actors, while only around for supporting reasons, do so effectively, each providing their own essence to the movie.
While the film certainly toys around the idea of self-made man finally hitting rock bottom, only then being forced to reconstruct his life, there isn’t the sense of cheesiness that you might come to expect. Instead, the film portrays life in an almost poetic mannerism, pulling together all kinds of emotional elements, finally generating something of pure delight.
Even though you think you’ve already seen this movie, and it’s possible, for there are dozens like it, the fact of the matter is that it truly is it’s own piece of work. And so, at the end of the day, whether you are a country music aficionado or not, Crazy Heart deserves your attention.