Saturday, February 20, 2010

The BC Review: Crazy Heart

Since I was fortunate to have last Monday off from work for President's Day and my husband was well, not so fortunate and thus had to get himself to school, I took the afternoon and treated myself to my favorite past-time, a matinee flick!

To be perfectly honest, when I arrived at the Ballston theatre I had no idea what I wanted to see or even more important, what was playing. But I walked up and got in the customer service line and asked to see the next showing of Crazy Heart. As luck would have it, it was 12 o'clock and the show was starting in merely 15 minutes. It seemed I had timed this perfectly, and without even trying. For those of you who know me, I absolutely hate to be late, really for anything, but especially for movies (I'm a big fan of previews, for obvious reasons, and well, I also REALLY like to see the entire film, from beginning to end). In any event, lucky for me, this had worked out perfectly.

Crazy Heart is one of those "fly-under-the-radar-too-good-to-miss" flicks that somehow never garners the attention it so rightfully deserves. Chronicling the life of a down-and-out has-been country singer, the film showcases the vocal stylings of Jeff Bridges and shows us a deeply humanizing side of Bad Blake, a gruff aging star, as he struggles to find meaning in his life and get back on top in the industry.

Arguably one of the best male actors of our time, Bridges truely succeeds in this one. A role vaguely reminiscient of The Big Lebowski's, the Dude; Bridges bring us a down-trodden, yet at the same time, resilient man, stumbling through the endless days and nights.

Coming along on part of his journey is Jean, a single mother from Oklahoma, some 30 years his junior. A down-home, brunette beauty, played by Maggie Gyllenhaal (Jake Gyllenhaal of Brokeback Mountain fame), she takes his hand and reintroduces him to a life off the road for a change. Unfortunately for him (and for us!) her time in the film is somewhat cut short. Following an incident involving her 4-year-old son, Bad is forced to recognize his weakness and suffers the pain of Jean's departure.

Interwined in the slow-moving film, somewhat reminiscent of No Country for Old Men (without the over-the-top violence) we are fortunate to hear the musical stylings of Bad Blake, while witnessing the human drama of a man struggling to get back on top.

As a very welcome surprise, we are treated to the addition of Colin Farrell, playing Bad's former protege, Tommy Sweet. Farrell's portrayal of Sweet, student turned master, far out selling Bad these days, is an honest and welcome addition to the plot line. Not knowing if this was purposeful or not, surprisingly Farrell did not receive top-billing for this role. But in this blogger's humble opinion, a good move and a refreshing role for Farrell.

Though not nominated for Best Picture, Crazy Heart has garnered a total of three Oscar nominations, including a Best Actor nod for Bridges. Definitely a worth-while film, entertaining and inspiring.

The Bee Charmer Rating: B+