Sunday, March 14, 2010

Crazy Heart

I try to write my mini-review for the side panel within a day or two of seeing a movie on the big screen or finishing a book. So what has kept me from writing about Crazy Heart, which I saw more than 2 weeks ago? I had such great expectations, especially for the performance of Jeff Bridges as Bad Blake. While I surely enjoyed the movie, thought that it held together at the end in an honest way and rooted for Bad to conquer his demons, I was mildly disappointed overall. Still, it just eeks out a 3/4.

Let me list the things about the movie that I didn't like.
1. The character of Jean (Maggie Gyllenhaal) falling for Bad. There's 28 years difference in real life and the same for the characters in the movie. So a good-looking, if lonely 30ish woman is going to fall for a totally dissolute 57 year old, which is the given age of Bad in the movie? Only in a 57 year old man's fantasy. The character of Jean would have worked much better if she were considerably older; say an attractive grandmom who has care of a grandchild. Grandmom could have built up considerable gravitas through life's misfortunes to match that of Bad's mostly self-inflicted misfortunes. A character who has gone through say divorce and a widowing, daughter in jail/on the streets, scraping out a living; what a rich character that could have been.
2. Bad goes to one AA meeting and seemingly gets the cure.
3. For a woman with a part-time job on a minor newspaper, Jean lives in this nice house on several wooded acres -- far too nice for someone in her place in life. She seemingly can travel on whim as though she has money to spare.
4. Bridges' performance as Bad seemed like an easy role; maybe playing dissolute is harder than I think.

Now there were things to like about the movie:
1. The acting was generally solid overall.
2. The music was a very nice fit to the storyline.
3. I thought that relationship and interplay between Bad and Tommy Sweet (Colin Farrell) worked very well.
4. Even though the character of Wayne wasn't well developed (nor did it need to be), I love Robert Duvall as a crusty old guy, so it's always a treat to see him.
5. I loved the seediness of the joints where Bad played, especially the bowling alley. That framed the "how far he has fallen" setup nicely.

Okay, I feel better for having written this up. I will not be surprised if upon re-viewing the movie my review might improve. Some day I'll watch it on TV and see if my feeling about it changes or not.

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