Crazy Heart - a performance I can appreciate and a character I hated


Crazy Heart (USA, 2009)

Seen: Saturday, 15th May 2010 (cinema)
Runtime: 112′
Director: Scott Cooper
Cast: Jeff Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Colin Farrell
Production House: Fox Searchlight Pictures, Informant Media, Butcher's Run Films
Plot: (from imdb)

A faded country music musician is forced to reassess his dysfunctional life during a doomed romance that also inspires him.


Rating: -2 (Detested It)

Impressions In Short
Contrary to my rating, it’s not a terrible film ;) It’s just that I really couldn’t get into it because the main character annoyed the hell out of me (and it’s not because the character was bad or anything, it’s just a personal thing). Jeff Bridges is indeed very good though.

More About the Film
I’m not sure if I can moan that Colin Firth didn’t get the oscar now ;) I mean I did prefer Colin Firth ;-P But that is at least partly because as a character George appeals to me, whereas Bad Blake doesn’t.
Bad Blake is the kind of guy that tells you he loves you, but really what he means is that he loves your company not you. That might sound a little cryptic, so I’ll just describe a certain sequence that has stayed with me. Bad Blake is hitting on a girl and in the process he asks her what the most important thing about her is. She replies that she has a 4 year old son named Buddy. Next day she is very late to a meeting with Bad because she had problems finding someone who would babysit Buddy. Clearly her son is a very big and important part of her life. Still, this doesn’t stop Bad Blake from asking her to just leave town and come to Phoenix with him for one of his concerts. The way he asks it, without considering how this effects her as a mother, makes it clear that he hasn’t grasped one of the most important things about her even though she literally spelled it out for him (he asked “what’s the most important thing about you?” and she replied). Even when she says no, he still doesn’t quite seem to get it.
This is what ended up defining Bad Blake for me - he has absolutely no idea how his actions effect other people and has no real love for them. It’s not that he’s unfriendly - on the contrary he’s very approachable. It’s just that in actuality all he can be to other people is a burden (which is why most of his relationships suck - he’s in conflict even with the people who stand by him). I don’t think he even consciously realizes that he doesn’t truly care for the people in his life.
At the end of the film he goes through some major changes and in the last scene we finally see there’s been some change in him on that level as well. The change is not quite complete, but there is a difference in his thinking. When he meets the girl again she asks him if he wants to see Buddy and for the first time we hear him actually truly considering the question not just in relation to himself. He has grown to love Buddy and at one time he would have just said yes, but this time his answer is “I’m not sure that would be good for Buddy”.
For the record, I did think Jeff Bridges did a great job at portraying all the nuances of this. It was very realistic and even though it’s one of those parts that could easily be hammed and overacted, Bridges is very subtle. There’s not a false note in his performance. But somehow, something about Bad Blake really got to me. A film with a leading character like that makes me want to run the other way. Seeing the girl falling for him anyway had me cringing (girls do fall for guys like that unfortunately but seeing it unravel on screen like that is just painful to me :-/).

I can’t really say… It’s definitely a good performance by Jeff Bridges, but I’m not sure it really has that much to commend it other than that. It’s a slow film and it really hangs on finding the main character involving.

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