Friday, February 19, 2010

Review: Crazy Heart (2009)

Well, first of all, let me tell you how afraid I was of watching this movie. The story seemed to be the total copy of Tender Mercies, which has now become one of my favorite movies. But I had to watch it because I was extremely curious if Jeff Bridges is really deserving. And it's the most easy to say it right now: he totally deserves this Oscar.
The movie is about an alcoholic country singer, Bad Blake (Bridges), who is struggling with his pathetic life as a drunk. He plays at bowling alleys, small bars and so on. One day he meets a journalist (Maggie Gylenhall), who seems to be becoming one of the few good things in Bad's life (and of course she has a little son whom she raises alone).
And just for comparision, the story of Tender Mercies: an alcoholic country singer (Robert Duvall) is struggling with his pathetic life as a drunk. He does not play anywhere, he is out of business but one day he meets a shopkeeper (Tess Harper), who seems to be becoming one of the few good things in his life (and of course she has a little son whom she raises alone).
So oddly similar, isn't it? Well, not as much as I thought at the beginning. Sure the main things are simple, but Crazy Heart is much more simple and it doesn't have anything to do with the subjects of faith and religion, it is simply a movie for entertainment and it's really nothing special, but it is indeed quite enjoyable sometimes. So I think that Scott Cooper directorial debut will not be his masterpiece, but really it doesn't even about him. It's about Bridges.
Jeff Bridges (one of my personal favorites) gives a heartbreaking, subtle and amazing performance as Bad Blake. I am not sure if this is his career-best performance (because he was equally brilliant in The Big Lebowski or The Fisher King) and this is very different from his other characters. Still I'm surprised again that he's so popular in this movie: it's not really the loud (a bit over)acting the audiences and the Academy goes for. It's really a masterful work, which does not blow you away when you watch it, but it stays in your mind and haunts you. Brilliant, just brilliant.
Maggie Gylenhall gives a very decent performance as the love interest of Bad Blake, which is not really nomination worthy, but this year the supporting actress is rather weak (especially compared to Mo'Nique's tour-de-force), so she's my third at the moment (behind Farmiga), but because I did not really like the others even though they were not bad either (well, Cruz and Kendrick were quite mediocore). Never mind, at least she recieved the recognition she should have got a long time ago.
Robert Duvall and Colin Farell give quite unimpressive in their minor roles, but this movie is really not about them, so I guess it's not their fault.
The only thing I forgot about is the Best Original Song: The Weary Kind deserves to win, even though I'm extremely pissed that I See You from Avatar was not nominated damn it. Never mind, I'm going to be rooting for The Weary Kind.
Ok, to sum up, if you want to see this movie because of Bridges, watch it as soon as possible, but apart from him, don't have high expectations.
My Grade: 7/10
Nominations: Best Actor (Bridges); Best Supporting Actress (Gylenhall), Best Original Song (The Weary Kind)
My wins: Actor and Song


joe burns said...

Jeff Bridges was good, but he didn't blow me away. Maggie was okay, but didn't deserve a nomination. Could you do a 1996 Best Actress smackdown? I'd love to see your thoughts. I'll be doing one soon.

dinasztie said...

I definitely could. :-) But I need to rewatch Marvin's Room becasue I really don't remember it. But at the moment Blethyn is my first and Keaton is my fifth.