I recently viewed the movie Crazy Heart which starred Jeff Bridges and Maggie Gyllenhall. I was curious because Jeff Bridges won the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance in Crazy Heart. Maggie Gyllenhall also was nominated for an Oscar for her performance in Crazy Heart. The movie’s theme song “The Weary Kind” won the Academy Award in the Best Original Song Category.
Jeff Bridges has the role of Bad Blake, an over-the-hill alcoholic country music singer who plays at bowling alleys and rural night clubs throughout the country to maintain his survival. When asked to do an interview by Jean Craddock (played by Maggie Cyllenhall), he is taken by her strongly and it appears that Jean reciprocates the feeling. Jean is a single mother of a four-year-old boy whose entire life has revolved around her son.
Their relationship goes well, including fun with Jean’s son Buddy. Jean has asked Bad not to drink in front of Buddy. When Bad and Buddy have an afternoon together, Bad brings him to a tavern and in the course of the afternoon, Buddy disappears. Of course, Bad is frantic. Jean returns home to an empty house and searches in town for them. Buddy is found unharmed, but the relationship crumbles as Jean wants nothing more to do with Bad.
The incident was enough to send Bad to Alcoholics Anonymous and he finally gets his life together. He begins writing songs again at the urging of his young friend Tommy (played by Colin Farrell). His career is on the rise again even though he is going it alone.
Jean comes to see his performance and they have a friendly talk, but it is clear that the friendship for her is over. He asks her if she would like an interview and she agrees. We are left to wonder whether this is a new beginning for the two friends.
Robert Duvall produced this movie along with Jeff Bridges as the Executive Producer. Duvall had a small cameo role in the movie also. Jeff underplays his role beautifully, but does do his own singing, which is quite professional.
After four previous nominations for the Academy Award and coming up empty, Jeff Bridges has finally received the recognition he deserves. He has taken an oft-played situation and made it believable. He has the characteristics of a washed-up performer down pat; his own life experience seems to filter through, giving his performance an authentic ring.
Film – Crazy Heart (2009)