Feel good with a crazy little thing called love

Crazy Heart (15) Director Scott Cooper Starring Jeff Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Robert Duvall, James Keane, Ryan Bingham 115 mins Three star rating Doddering, ambling, forgetful, careful to avoid any sudden shocks – this is a film that very effec

Crazy Heart (15)

Director Scott Cooper

Starring Jeff Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Robert Duvall, James Keane, Ryan Bingham

115 mins


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Three star rating

Doddering, ambling, forgetful, careful to avoid any sudden shocks - this is a film that very effectively expresses the condition of getting old. Bad Blake (Bridges) is a washed up, alcoholic country singer who after many a long year on the road is reduced to playing bowling alleys and small bars. Then out of nowhere he falls in love with a small town reporter (Gyllenhaal) who comes to interview him.

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What was once a little character piece film is now destined to be perceived as the one Jeff Bridges is going to win an Oscar for. Probably not before time; he's been a name actor for forty years, never quite a major star but more often than not a lead performer. I can't think of any actor over that period who has remained quite so prominent without ever once being a superstar.

Bridges is surely the most consistently well reviewed actor in Hollywood. In all that time, he's never fallen out of critical favour, though the public have never really found a major use for him.

I half side with the public on this. He's a great actor, so natural and unforced on screen that you can't catch him out. But, really where's the excitement? When the time comes to look back at his career, outside of the followers of Dudeism, what's he going to be remembered for, what's going to be treasured?

Probably not Crazy Heart, which is unoriginal, predictable (apart from an unexpected, unbilled cameo appearance) but also light, funny and endearing. Bridges is his usually immaculate, effortless self filling the screen, resembling a Kris Kristofferson who's had the stick removed from up his backside. The difference here though is that writer/director Cooper (an actor himself) has made sure that everything else has been pushed aside so nothing gets in the way of the acting. Even as a lead Bridges can sometimes slink quietly into the background, but there's no hiding place this time.

Gyllenhaal has also bagged a nomination despite being spectacularly miscast. You won't believe for a minute that she's a single mother in Santa Fe or that she'd touch this bristly, sweat stained lush with a pitchfork. And yet despite all that, you still warm to her performance.

Did I like it? Yes, because why wouldn't you? But I liked it as you like a friend who is absolutely a stand up, salt of the earth guy, but one you don't particularly race to spend time with.

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