February 24, 2010

Crazy Heart

A fine no-frills character study elevated by an excellent performance by Jeff Bridges. Bad Blake was once a successful and popular old-school country-western star, but many years have come and gone. A lifetime of alcoholism and four failed marriages has taken its toll when we meet him. Blake hits the bottom of the barrel around the time he vomits into a barrel behind a bowling alley- in the middle of a song he's supposed to be singing. Maggie Gyllenhaal is a the single mom who is charmed by his "crazy heart" and makes the mistake of falling in love. The plot is simple, the movie itself is laid-back and unpretentious. Bridges is excellent and unafraid to look pitiful- there are plenty of cringing moments, including his drunken attempts at retaining his dignity. The music is good, in fact, if it were better, or more "showy", it would distract. It's simple pleasures are an asset. The third act rehabilitation and pat ending are a little easy, but a movie as modest and honest as this can be forgiven. (Belmont Studio Cinema, with Sarah "Pickles" Hershberger)