In a career filled with unforced, naturalistic performances, Jeff Bridges gives one of his finest in Crazy Heart (and The Dude won a well-deserved Oscar for it). His oft-married, booze-soaked troubadour Bad Blake has just rolled into Santa Fe when he meets Maggie Gyllenhaal’s journalist Jean. “Where do all the songs come from?” she asks during their initial encounter. “Life, unfortunately,” he sighs.
Against Jean’s better judgment, her fling with Blake blooms into a full-fledged relationship. Between gigs, Blake hangs out with the divorcée and her 4-year-old son, with whom he establishes an instant rapport, possibly because the musician is just an overgrown kid himself (and also because he hasn’t seen his own boy in years). While Blake plays juke joints, his protégé, Tommy Sweet (Colin Farrell, cast against type to fine effect), plays stadiums, but just when director Scott Cooper’s debut seems to be going down the same path as A Star Is Born, Sweet offers his mentor an opportunity that could revive his reputation — at the expense of his still-healthy ego.
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